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Kenya detains South Sudanese mother of twins over $13k medical bills

Juba, South Sudan,

June 19, 2021 – A South Sudanese mother of twins Aluel James Deng is appealing for help after a hospital in Kenya’s capital Nairobi detained her over unpaid medical bills worth $30,000.

Kenya detains South Sudanese mother of twins over $13k medical bills
Aluel James Deng, South Sudanese mother of twins (photo credit: courtesy)

Aluel says she had an emergency delivery and had twins at Ruai family Hospital in Nairobi. Deng said without paying the medical bills of 1.4 million shillings amounting to 13 thousand dollars, the hospital authorities would not allow her to leave.

In a statement seen by Nyamilepedia, Manyang David Mayar reached Deng via phone call at a hospital ward in Nairobi and Deng said she had an emergency delivery three days ago which forced her to be admitted to Ruai Family Hospital where she gave birth to twins.

On Thursday, Aluel says the hospital served her with a medical bill totaling 1.4 million Kenya shillings, an amount she says she cannot get.

“The most painful part is, this hospital is treating [me] like [I am] not a human being. How can a bill of three days become 13,000 US dollars? I am heartbroken because the father of the kids left me, maybe because of the bills, I don’t know. I am hurt also because my other children are with a neighbor”, Aluel bemoaned.

She said she moved to Nairobi in 2020 at the invitation of her husband, a Kenyan man she identified as Samuel Otieno who she says is the father of the twins after she had two children by another man.

Aluel also said when Otieno disappeared and abandoned her at the hospital with a towering medical bill, she turned to her parents but in vain.

“My dad is so hard to get hold of. I tried to get hold of him. My mum, I don’t know where she is, my sister I don’t know where she is. I am all alone. I tried to contact them. I tried, I tried but can’t. All the numbers that they gave me, they are not going through so I am alone,” she added.

The 30-year old mother from Warrap State said after all her several attempts to contact relatives went unsuccessful she turned to social media to share her story.

An official in charge of client relations at the hospital confirmed that a South Sudanese woman gave birth to twins at the hospital three days ago and she is not able to pay her bills. But the official declined to comment further saying he/she is not authorized to speak to the media. The official says the hospital would issue a statement later in the day.

Before leaving the hospital, Aluel is expected to clear bills ranging from charges for admission, ambulance, maternity, nutrition, and pharmacy bills.

South Sudan Ambassador to Kenya when reached for comments confirmed that he is aware of a South Sudanese woman who has given birth to twins at the hospital facing high medical bills but unfortunately, there is nothing the embassy can do.

 

“This is purely a family issue, a girl who is married to a Kenyan, who delivered in a hospital, we don’t know the details of why would the bill would kick up to 13,000 US dollars as if somebody has done a heart operation. The embassy can do nothing.  What is required of the embassy, we come to assist our nationals when they have legal issues but not medical bills which are more or less something to do with maternity”, the ambassador said.

He added that he was able to reach Aluel’s father who is a Member of Parliament in the South Sudanese National Legislative Assembly. He said the father was not in a position to stand with her daughter in such a situation.

A good Samaritan who identified himself as Chelsea Badal has started a fundraising campaign on GoFundMe, to help the woman raise money to pay her medical bills. At the time of writing, the GoFundMe account had $63 out of the $15000 target set.

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