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Couple jailed over child’s medical care

A couple who are adherents of the Kavonokia sect have been jailed for two years each or pay a fine of Sh.50,000 after  they were convicted for failing to take their sick child to hospital.

The  couple’s case has been running in an Embu court since last year.

Erick Njau and his wife, Wamwere Njau, had earlier told the court that they obeyed the Bible verse that says that when a child falls ill the parents should take him to a man of God to be anointed with oil hence their inaction when their four year old son fell ill.

They had been accused of violating the child’s right to health care when they failed to take him to the hospital for treatment after he fell sick.

The  man’s sister reported the couple to the police after she found their son critically ill and rushed him to Embu Level Five hospital where his life was saved. She was to later tell the court that the couple had earlier lost six other children to illness after the couple failed to take them to hospital.

In their defense before Principal Magistrate (PM), Henry Nyakwemba, the couple told the court that their faith does not allow them to take conventional medicine.

“In our Church we do not take our family members to the hospital or any other health facilities. We believe in our faith for restoration of health,” said Njau.

Nyakwemba  stated that it is not right to subject any child to suffering for the sake of one’s faith. He said the choice over whether not to take medicine or not should only be made by an adult and that the law protects child’s right to medical care.

By  Francis Macharia/Steve Gatheru

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