Every working mother hopes to leave her child in an environment that activates and engages her child’s development.
In most cases, working mothers will hire nannies but for those who cannot afford one, the only option is a daycare. What happens to your child once you are off to fend for them, many wonder.
Daycares especially in the rural or informal settlements will have at least 50 children coming in and out of the centre. One care giver can have up to twenty children under her care.
Take for example, a mother working in a flower farm in Naivasha pockets at least Sh6,500 per month and cannot afford to hire a nanny who will most likely ask for Sh4,500 every single month.
These mothers opt for daycares that ask for Sh50 per day. But according to an expose by the Standard, these women are clueless about what happens to their children after they leave.
They make their way to the centres with lunch boxes, diapers and a change of clothes for their babies and off to work they go.
Well, according to the expose, when the children become restless, the caregivers resort to unorthodox means to keep the business running.
It is understood that they will sometimes give the children a teaspoonful of codeine, a prescription drug used to treat mild to moderately severe pain and can be highly addictive.
Other times they will have the children take a small amount of alcohol which knocks them right to sleep, sometimes till evening when their unsuspecting mothers pick them up.
“Sometimes we mix local liquor with a soda and once we give babies, they will sleep for hours,” a caregiver told the Standard.
According to experts, the dark, ill ventilated rooms are the main source of diarrhoea, malnutrition, rickets and pneumonia.
Naivasha sub-county hospital superintendent Angeline Ithondeka further revealed that the highest number of children admitted in the pediatric ward are from the centres.
“We have recorded tens of cases of diarrhoea and malnutrition among minors from Karagita where there are tens of these centres and it easy to spread disease from one minor to the other,” Ms Ithondeka said.
There is also the issue of who licenses these centres. Does the responsibility lie with the county or the national government?
Another solution would be to set up formal day cares within the workplace for breastfeeding mothers.
In Naivasha for example, only Oserian offers these services.
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