On 15th August 1999 Mama Rosemary Onyango gave birth to identical girls at the then Kakamega General Hospital (now Kakamega County Referral Hospital). Mama Angeline Omina had given birth to a baby girl at the same hospital.
Those in the maternity ward at the end of the day handed to Mama Rosemary Onyango one of her identical twins who she named Melon Lutenyo and another baby girl as the twin who she named Mevis Imbaya.
Mama Angeline Omina was handed her supposedly one baby girl who she named Sharon Mathias but who in truth was not her child but the identical twin to Melon Lutenyo and her real baby having been handed over to Mama Angeline Onyango, who was named Mevis Imbaya.
Social media, DNA testing and sheer human curiosity has successfully answered the puzzle as to how Sharon and Melon looked so alike and yet they “were of different parents”.
The saga of the mix up and swapping of the identical twins at Kakamega County Referral Hospital in 1999 is a wakeup call to the cavalier, casual, don’t care attitude in part of our public service in dealing with the public. Is it excusable? Is it really to be accepted as to “err is human” for this state of affairs that took place In Kakamega County Referral Hospital in 1999? Yes, even as the DCI investigated the identical twins’ cruel mix-up, is it not in order for the Governor of the County of Kakamega who is the successor of the National Government that was running that hospital in 1999 to come public and apologize to the affected girls and their parents.
And what re-examination, re-evaluation, re-design of the protocols in that Hospital and others is being undertaken that will eliminate any such errors? It is traumatizing, embarrassing to the children (the girls) and their parents and the affected for this sad state of affairs that is not of their own making but only because they sought a service (maternity care) at a public health facility. The identical twins have been forced to repeat their form three due to the anxiety that preceded being the centre of the media frenzy on their similarity up to the DNA testing process and its outcome.
In this age of transparency and accountability those that through their negligence, recklessness or otherwise facilitated, contributed to the debacle that led to the switching of the twins in 1999 must be tracked and held accountable and if there is a criminal element, be prosecuted so that those who presently are in public offices and take their work casually, without the least diligence are brought to their senses that there will be consequences for their wrong actions or omissions that injure any citizen.
The families of the three girls have to reset their lives a new for no fault of theirs. And though the families state they do not wish to seek compensation in our courts to the wrong perpetrated against them, West Media is persuaded they should do so. The long term ramifications of the bungling in being handed a child who is not one’s child are yet to be felt. Justice will be better served if the Kakamega County Referral Hospital was sued and made to pay for the horrible errors it made in 1999 so that no other family is made to go through the trauma and humiliation the identical twins mix up has brought to bear on the affected families.