Over 50% of mothers pressured to kill their children

Research has shown that 54% of mothers have been pressured to kill their children living with disabilities PHOTO COURTESY

Nairobi,KENYA: According to a survey released by Disability Rights International, 54 percent of women in the country especially rural areas have been pressured to kill their children with disability challenges.

Releasing the survey in Nairobi, Disability Rights International director  Eric Rosenthal said that 37 percent of women in Nairobi have been pressured by the society to kill their disabled children indicating that Nairobi and  Nakuru counties are the worst hit.

He said that 63 percent of women surveyed said that they have been told that their children have been cursed.

“The women surveyed in Nairobi said that they were pressured to kill their children with disabilities while 54 percent more from rural areas felt pressure to kill their children,” Rosenthall said

“All the women DRI spoke with said that it is common for parents to be pressured to kill their babies with disabilities, many babies are killed at birth.”He added

He pointed that through written and personal interviews they quizzed ninety mothers who said that they opted to keep their child with a disability.

The orphanages in Kenya were also on the spot where it emerged that most children in orphanages are not indeed orphans hence poverty and disability push such children into orphanages whereby most of the children are susceptible conditions such as abandonment, abuse, overcrowding, isolation rooms, and filthy conditions.

The report warned that children with disabilities are at risk if left in the institutions because they might be emotional, sexually and physically abused.

“At the Dagoretti rehabilitation center, five hundred children were crammed into several filthy rooms and passageways. An older child was guarding the door with a machete and a whip to prevent children from leaving “The report indicated

21 institutions which were visited by DRI entailed  3,400 children some as young as one week while in Mombasa the DRI found that there were  3,000 institutionalized children.

It is estimated that there are 1,500 orphanages across the country.

The report also faulted the health system in the country whereby it revealed that many mothers left the hospital facilities without being told that their children had a disability also mothers complained that nurses say that disability is dangerous or contagious.

In the reportDRI urged the government to employ mechanisms of stopping the killing, torture, and abuse of children with disabilities which is fundamental to the obligations of all nations under international law that human life must be protected for children with or without disabilities.

The survey was conducted and documented for the past two years.