Girl, 5, turns blind after beatings by father and stepmother

A five-year-old girl who turned partially blind after being beaten by her father in Bahati sub-County in Nakuru is undergoing treatment at a private hospital.

The nursery school girl was rescued from her abusive family by Children’s Department and placed on treatment at Tophill Hospital in Eldoret.

According to Bahati sub-County Children’s Coordinator Salome Waithaka, the minor was beaten after she failed to wash clothes of her two-year-old brother and for eating mena (silverfish) without permission of her step-mother.

The official said the minor told them her stepmother and father have been abusing her.

The beatings have left the child with a clot on the left side of her brain, including visible injuries on the face, neck, buttocks, hands and head.

At times, her parents would deny her meals, forcing her to beg and scavenge for food in waste bins.
“The girl told us that her father would deliberately burn her with cigarette butts, accusing her of not being disciplined,” said the official.

A report was made at Bahati Police Station under OB08/05/06/2020 and the man was arrested and charged with assault and negligence. He is serving a six-month jail term.

The girl was placed in a children’s home and later taken for treatment and counselling as she was traumatised.
But two weeks ago, it was discovered that her movements were slow and would at times fall when walking.
She was taken to the Rift Valley Provincial General Hospital and experts advised to have her eyes examined.

Eye check-up

“We discovered she was mostly touching surfaces while walking and we took her for an eye check-up,” said Carl Maghanga, an officer at the children’s home.

She was admitted last Thursday.

A CT scan indicated that she had developed a clot on the left side of her brain and surgery was necessary to prevent her from becoming totally blind.

“This is to notify you that XX was admitted to this hospital on August 27, 2020, and is due for discharge soon after a neurosurgeon and post-operative medication,” reads a section of the medical report written by hospital General Manager David Chebii.

Her biological mother, who works as a house help in Nairobi, cannot raise Sh650,000 to settle the hospital bill.
She told The Standard in an interview that the girl had been staying with her grandmother in Kitale after they parted ways with the father in February, this year.

The husband requested to stay with her in March after schools were closed following Covid-19 pandemic.
“The father wanted to bond with my daughter but turned abusive, subjecting her to both physical and mental torture,” she said in a phone interview.

Jacinta Wangechi, the Bahati sub-County Police Commander, said though the suspect was arrested and charged with assault and will face more charges.

Wangechi said the police are waiting for the girl to be discharged from hospital to enable them to take more action against her father.

“It is unfortunate that the beatings caused the minor’s health complications.

“We are waiting for a comprehensive medical record to prefer more charges on the suspect,” she said in an interview.

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