Personal Story

They just choose not to act – Joyce Ndulu

Joyce not pictured

I want most good reception by doctors and nurses, how they receive me when I walk in to seek treatment. Being received with respect. Delivery time is very sensitive for women, and they are vulnerable at that time and how they are treated is very key. Giving birth is a very difficult process for women, when you are received well, and treated well, it will make you confident of the process. If women are not respected in hospitals, they will not go to facilities in the future and that could lead to risks. doctors are not available. They go for very long tea and lunch breaks and all this time the women are waiting.

Some health workers also abuse women, most during delivery. They do not sympathize with women. Some are abusive and ask, “who made you pregnant?” I am the one who decided, for myself and my children. So please stop shouting here.

There is a time I went to the hospital, not once, many times. I waited for a whole day. I went home disappointed. There is one day I was waiting and there was a woman waiting. I heard she died later, she waited for a whole day, and she was in so much pain. No one at the facility was bothering, by the time they were attending to her it was too late. I was heartbroken and I lost trust for that facility.

Most times if you are perceived as poor, you will be treated so badly and that is what happens most times. Most women choose to deliver at home because they are not treated well at hospital, or they cannot afford the services. There are cases also where some say the facilities are very far, sometimes the only option for the women will be motorbike, and at that stage it is too risky, so they choose to deliver at home. The roads are very bad, during rainy seasons women suffer a lot, the riverbanks break, and it becomes impassable. If there is an emergency, one must use a route that is longer and that can be risky.

Women living with disability, for example, those who have challenge for walking, they go to hospital, there are no toilets for people living with disability, no ramps, no delivery beds fit for them, most times can be risky. There are women who are deaf, when they express themselves no one understands them, so they get frustrated. The blind also suffer, no one to guide them. There is also a big gap in family planning knowledge, women and girls are not informed about it and the myths take the day. They believe in these myths more than the facts. This education is needed for women and girls living in rural areas. If women can be empowered with knowledge to know their rights, then they can voice it through the suggestion boxes in facilities. They will write the complaints and what they want with hopes the management will open and read their requests.

Some leaders only promise change by talking and no action, especially politicians. The hospital management is aware because women do keep complaining and there are so many cases of mishandling women. They just choose not to act. There are public hearings where women are supposed to voice their demands, but most times the leaders do not turn up. The ones we voted for are not concerned with us until the next election. My greatest dream is for women with disabilities to be economically empowered. If only women can get means to make little money that they can save and use for their health needs and those of their children, the world will be so different. If they could have small businesses to sell vegetables, or chicken this would be great for women.

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