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Archive for October 24th, 2011

Men inside labour wards

Posted by Administrator on October 24, 2011

JENNIFER MUIRURI | NATION Julius Ngugi Kibe, 30, his wife Nancy Wangui,28, and their two-week-old baby Ivine Wairimu during the interview at Kenyatta National Hospital. Kibe had planned to accompany Wairimu to the delivery ward, but doctors advised a Caesarian birth after hours of labour. Little Ivine was ‘too big’ for normal delivery.

JENNIFER MUIRURI | NATION Julius Ngugi Kibe, 30, his wife Nancy Wangui,28, and their two-week-old baby Ivine Wairimu during the interview at Kenyatta National Hospital. Kibe had planned to accompany Wairimu to the delivery ward, but doctors advised a Caesarian birth after hours of labour. Little Ivine was ‘too big’ for normal delivery.

Over the years, the only people who have been accompanying women to the delivery room are their mothers, sisters, female friends or birth doulas. But a wave of romantic change is sweeping across the land, and now husbands have joined the fray.

While it is understandable when mothers and sisters flock the delivery room to offer moral support, or when doulas take it upon themselves to ensure safe delivery, many question the place of a man, particularly the husband, in labour and delivery wards.

A doula is someone who provides non-medical support to women and their families during labour and childbirth, and also during the postpartum period. Birth doulas offer guidance on breathing, relaxation techniques, movement and positions to the expectant mother.

For 29-year-old Victor Kebati, the delivery room at Kisii Level Five Hospital was a roller-coaster ride of conflicting emotional states, exhaustion, exhilaration, amazement, boredom, fear, panic and zen-like calm.

Most importantly, and in his own words, it was horrifying. And later rewarding. Today, the infectious smile of his son has melted away, bit by bit, his intense aversion of the labour ward.

He considers himself lucky that he has put that experience behind him, for, to many men, the emotional trauma of watching their partner push and scream and curse and bleed in the delivery room lingers forever, sometimes killing off any romantic attachment the man had with the woman.

During the entire nine months of the pregnancy, Kebati had read books and scoured the Internet for information about the role of a man during pregnancy, and, over the period, he shared any interesting information he came by with his wife.

But nothing, not even the hundreds of hours he had spent on the Net, was enough to prepare him for the labour ward.

Kebati had just returned from a long evening walk, probably picturing in his mind the hero he would be to his wife when, eventually, the big day arrived, when his wife alerted him that the water had broken.

“Initially I thought it was a false alarm, but when she explained that she was in some pain, I opted not to take the risk,” he says.

Ante-natal card and layette in hand, Kebati hired a taxi to Kisii Level Five.

“We arrived at 8pm and were ushered into an examination room, where they looked at the crucial signs and informed us that she was due by 2am.”

“Before admission,” Kebati continues, “the nurse sent me to buy a basin, a cup, a spoon and cotton wool.”

His wife was admitted in a room with a six-bed capacity, four of which were occupied on this particular night by screaming women.

Only one woman in the room had been accompanied by her partner. But the evidently harassed man only stayed until his wife’s labour progressed to the second stage before bolting out of the door.

Kebati took the cue.

So why did he go there in the first place? Prof Patrick Muia Ndavi, a gynaecologist and obstetrician at Kenyatta National Hospital, describes the masculinisation of the labour ward as nothing but “labour with a human face”.

By their sheer presence in the delivery room, he adds, men provide the much needed psychological and emotional support to the expectant mother.

Prof Ndavi, who is also a lecturer at the University of Nairobi’s School Of Medicine, advises that it is good for the father to be involved in the development of the child, right from ante-natal visits to post-natal care.

However, Prof Ndavi notes that most public hospitals, including KNH, do not provide enough privacy for couple, hence fathers opt to stay away.

Ms Philomena Maina, the deputy director of nursing services at KNH, confirmed these limitations, saying that even though she would like to see more men at the delivery room, the limited space available is a deterrent factor.

For 34-year-old Eliud Omollo, nothing could chase him out of the delivery room at Mater Hospital, Nairobi, where he had rushed his wife for the delivery of the first-born daughter.

“It was a nerve-wrecking moment, but I’m glad I went through it all,” he says, adding that, although he had read about the progress of labour pains, the sight of his wife in pain was unbearable.

“She cried a lot and frequently asked me to massage her back,” he remembers. “So I obediently rubbed her lower back in between every round of contractions.

“As the breaks between contractions got shorter and shorter and the spasms longer and longer, I didn’t know what to do other than hold her hand and watch for the top of a head. Even worse was the fact that I could not physically share with her the pain she felt,” he says.

“Later, I resorted to whispering comforting words in her ear, but this only offered momentary relief.”

Omollo’s wife laboured for eight hours, and the man stood by her side throughout it all. At the break of dawn, hunger had began to ravage him, but he dared not take a break lest he missed the miracle of the birth of his baby.

Eventually, the contractions got very close to each other and the nurses said they could see the head of the baby. “I held tightly onto my wife’s hand. Then we heard the good news that it was close and the next moment I heard a sweet cry. Our baby was here!”

However, despite the lovey-dovey affection cited by many men who linger in delivery rooms, author and parenting expert Armin Brott advises men to keep off ‘Ground Zero’, saying the psychological risks far outweigh the intended good.

“Perhaps he’s the type of guy who gets squeamish when it comes to hospitals and medical procedures; or maybe he’s afraid he’ll fall apart, making things harder on his partner,” he points out. “Or maybe he just doesn’t want to see his wife in pain.”

Brott says men should realise that at least half of all the guys present in the labour ward report some ambivalence about participating in the birth of their children.

One of the men who spoke to DN2 agreed with this, saying that, even though it is miraculous to see your baby’s head emerge from the womb of your wife, the experience is quite shocking.

“Seeing the umbilical cord connecting mother and baby can be riveting, but it can also be very disturbing”, he added.

Julius Kibe accompanied his wife Nancy Wangui to the labour ward and stayed there until she was wheeled to the operating theater after doctors said the baby was too big to be born normally.

“I had attended all ante-natal classes and checks with her and was prepared to go all the way,” Kibe told this reporter at Kenyatta National Hospital, where the couple had taken their baby Ivine Wairimu Kibe for a routine checkup.

The 30-minute wait for both his wife and newborn was not only long, but also a pretty sweaty affair.

“I had planned for a normal delivery, so when the doctors told me they had to perform a Caeserian Section, the took the wind out of my sails.

“As I waited outside, I agonised over what was happening, and it was such a relief when eventually the theatre doors opened and the nurses brought to me the cutest baby I had ever seen.

Falling in place

“As I carried little Ivine to the nursery, I asked whether my wife was okay and the nursed answered in the affirmative. From there, everything started falling in place.”

Prof William Stones, Chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Aga Khan University Hospital, says the presence of male partners in the delivery room today reflects social changes currently taking place.

“If the man is there with his partner, he appreciates what she is going through and is better able to be supportive and give her what she needs at a very stressful time,” Prof Stones says.

“Unfortunately, some maternity units lack privacy such as curtains or screens, thus making it difficult to allow men into that area.”

When overcome by the experience, Prof Stones gives a remedy to the anxious father that could offer some relief.

“Sit down and put your head between your legs, or step out of the room for a while.

Dr Lukoye Atwoli, a Consultant Psychiatrist and Lecturer at Moi University’s School of Medicine, says the presence of a partner in the delivery room for some provides assurance.

“They feel safe and complete and consider their partner’s decision to be with them during labour and delivery as an indication of love and dedication,” Dr Atwoli says.

“They also feel that if the partner is present during delivery, he will understand the pain of childbirth and is likely to care more for both the baby and the mother.”

But French obstetrician Michel Odent shares a different view on the presence of daddies in the delivery room, saying that the hormone oxytocin is a shy one that does not perform well in the presence of other parties.

“Having been involved for more than 50 years in childbirths in homes and hospitals in France, England and Africa, the best environment I know for an easy birth is when there is nobody around the woman in labour apart from a silent, low-profile and experienced midwife,” he explains.

“Oxytocin is the love drug which helps the woman give birth and bond with her baby. But it is also a shy hormone and it does not come out when she is surrounded by people and technology. This is what we need to start understanding.

“I am more and more convinced that the participation of the father is one of the main reasons for long and difficult labours.”

Dr Odent further argues that the father’s release of the stress hormone adrenaline as he watches his partner labour causes her anxiety and prevents her from relaxing.

No matter how much he tries to smile and appear relaxed, he cannot help but feel anxious. And the release of adrenaline is contagious, he adds.

“It has been proven that it is physically impossible to be in a complete state of relaxation if there is an individual standing next to you who is tense and full of adrenaline,” he says, adding that he has noted something akin to post-natal depression in many men who have been present at the birth.

Men often take to their bed in the week following the birth, complaining of everything from a stomach ache or migraine to a 24-hour bug, Dr Odent says.

Source: http://www.nation.co.ke/Features/DN2/Men+inside+labour+wards+/-/957860/1260982/-/me76ie/-/index.html

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Somali president opposes Kenyan military intervention

Posted by Administrator on October 24, 2011

MOGADISHU-Somalia’s president said Monday that he opposed Kenya’s week-old military assault against Islamists in the south of his country, as deadly grenade attacks in Nairobi raised fears the rebels were making good on their pledge to retaliate.

While the Islamists had already threatened revenge attacks, the public opposition of Somali President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed further raised the stakes over the controversial cross-border incursion.

“Somalia’s government and its people will not allow forces entering its soil without prior agreement,” Sharif told reporters in Mogadishu. “There is only one thing we know about the Kenyan forces, and that is their offer of training to the national army of Somalia.”

Kenya’s unprecedented military incursion eight days ago, launched after several foreigners were abducted on its soil and taken across the border, stunned the region. Its troops and tanks have pushed some 100 kilometres (60 miles) into southern Somalia, areas controlled by the Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab.

Sharif’s statement appeared to contradict an agreement signed last week by Kenya and Somalia’s defence ministers to “cooperate in undertaking security and military operations.”

The agreement, inked in Mogadishu, limits Kenyan operations to Somalia’s Lower Juba region.

“We have asked neighbouring countries to train our forces with the aim to participate in the liberation and peacemaking efforts that is going on in the country,” Sharif said.

“But there are small issues we have discussed with Kenya which we see as unfair,” he added, without elaborating.

Sharif’s weak Western-backed government survives in Mogadishu under the protection of more than 9,000 African Union troops, who have spent four years battling the Shebab’s military drive to topple his administration.

His government controls only the war-ravaged capital, while the African Union Mission for Somalia (AMISOM), with troops from Uganda and Burundi, continues to fight bloody battles on Mogadishu’s outskirts.

“AMISOM is in Somalia with an AU mandate and the consent of Somalia’s government,” Sharif said. “There is collaboration with Kenya which is to assist Somalia’s national army, so that our forces can fulfill their duties.”

Kenya accuses the Shebab of attacks on its territory and a string of recent kidnappings of foreigners, charges the extremist militants reject.

The Shebab have vowed to launch reprisal raids against Kenya, prompting Nairobi to issue security warnings and announcing it has boosted protection around vulnerable sites.

There were no immediate claims of responsibility for the attacks in Nairobi — one at a bus stop during rush hour that killed one person and wounded 10 on Monday, and the other at a nightclub in the capital that left 14 people injured hours earlier.

Investigators suspected Shebab operatives but could not formally establish the Somali group’s involvement.

“We are dealing with a dangerous group — you know Al-Shebab have their sympathisers here, and maybe they are the people we are dealing with,” national police chief Mathew Iteere said after the pub attack.

The US embassy in Nairobi had warned Saturday of attacks possibly targeting foreigners, citing “credible information of an imminent threat of terrorist attacks.”

Kenyan forces in Somalia have been bogged down by heavy rains, slowing down their advance on Shebab positions despite aerial bombing raids, including on the rebel stronghold port of Kismayo.

Kenya’s government spokesman Alfred Mutua declined to comment. Last week President Mwai Kibaki vowed to use “all measures necessary” to defend his nation.

Sharif’s comments perhaps echo worries of some Somalis who oppose the Shebab, but who have expressed concern that Kenya’s attack on the rebels may also include an attempt to carve out a buffer zone of control in the south.

Meanwhile France on Monday said it would provide logistical support to transport Kenyan military equipment by air from Nairobi to an airport near the Somali border.

The last time Somalia was invaded by one of its neighbours was in late 2006 when Ethiopia started an occupation that lasted two years and spurred the formation of the Shebab insurgency.

SOURCE: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5joppuNbnnh4Oi7Y5EAZsxImLrkeA?docId=CNG.3f2f96e7a36cc21e998b5fcff0cd4ff0.1a1

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One dead, 13 injured in second city blast

Posted by Administrator on October 24, 2011

At least one person was killed Monday evening and 13 others injured in a second explosion to hit Nairobi in 24 hours.

The 8pm explosion was believed to have been a grenade hurled at a moving matatu near a crowded terminus between Race Course and Landhies roads in Nairobi.

The injured were taken to Kenyatta National Hospital for treatment as security officers drawn from the General Service Unit and the police cordoned off the scene opposite the former Jack and Jill Supermarket.

The covered body of the dead person was still at the scene when the Nation team arrived.

Witnesses said the grenade was thrown at a matatu full of passengers, but bounced off its window and exploded in a crowd of people rushing to board buses.

A police officer, who sought anonymity, said they had collected the remains of the explosive device, which they identified as a hand grenade.

The Kaka matatu terminus serves the Kiambu, Githunguri and Ndumberi routes and is close to St Peter Claver’s Church, the Salvation Army Church and is only a few metres from the normally crowded OTC stage, which serves matatus to Nairobi’s Eastlands.

The last explosion at the OTC was the failed assassination attempt against then popular Nyandarua North MP JM Kariuki in 1975.

The explosion came hardly 24 hours after another hand grenade was hurled into a night club along Mfangano Lane in the city, injuring 14 people.

One of those injured in the second blast was taken to theatre in bad state. Most of the victims sustained injuries on their legs.

Following the two explosions, Internal Security PS Francis Kimemia announced a ban on fireworks displays during Diwali and Christmas festivities.

A major crackdown on illegal Somali immigrants was also under way in the country on Monday.

Arrests were reported in Malindi and Nakuru with some of those seized already charged in court.

Disowning operation

In Nairobi’s Eastleigh area, a suburb which has been nicknamed “little Mogadishu” because of the large number of Somali residents from Kenya and Somalia, tension was high.

In Somalia, cracks appeared in the military alliance fighting the Al-Shabaab with Transitional Federal Government President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed disowning Kenya’s security operation.

Even though he had welcomed and supported the joint operation five days ago, President Ahmed yesterday changed tune and said he only wanted Kenya to train and provide logistical support to his troops.

Reports from Somalia said the Kenyan military pushing towards Afmadow had moved beyond the town of Belec Qocani. Their TFG allies were near Afmadow.

Police in Malindi, which neighbours southern Somalia, said they had launched a major crackdown on foreigners fleeing from the war-torn country.

Area police boss Wellington Choka confirmed that 11 people of Somali origin were arrested on Sunday night in Robinson Island and Marereni in Magarini District.

In Nakuru, 10 illegal immigrants of Somali origin were charged with being in the country illegally. They denied being in the country illegally and were remanded in police custody until today when their case will be mentioned.

Meanwhile, leaders from North Eastern have urged local residents to support the military action against Al-Shabaab in Somalia.

Fifteen MPs and elders led by Defence Minister Yusuf Haji and National Assembly Deputy Speaker Farah Maalim told residents in Pangani, Nairobi, that the fight against the militia group was a war against “criminal elements and not targeted at the Somali community in Kenya.”

The leaders branded the militia an enemy unworthy of sympathy. Tension was also high in most towns of North Eastern on Monday following the killing of a chief in Mandera Town.

Jamal Ali Jahazi was shot by unknown people while coming from a mosque on Sunday evening.

Internal Security Minister George Saitoti said police will remain on high alert as the country’s defence forces continue with the crackdown on Al-Shabaab.

Meanwhile, France confirmed it is providing limited logistical support to Kenya’s offensive against Islamist rebels in Somalia, but denied reports that a French warship had bombarded the Somali coast.

Source: http://www.nation.co.ke/News/One+dead+13+injured+in+second+city+blast+/-/1056/1261260/-/140nfwf/-/index.html

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