The fact sheet below discusses in-depth the landmark judgment issued in 2018 by the High Court of Bungoma in Josephine Oundo Ongwen v. the Attorney General & 4 Others recognizing that the neglect and physical and verbal abuse of women seeking maternity health care services constitutes a violation of rights as guaranteed by the Constitution of Kenya as well as international human rights instruments.
The Court ruled that Bungoma County Hospital, the Bungoma County government, and the Cabinet Secretary of Health had violated Josephine’s rights when she was denied quality maternal health care and was physically and verbally abused by hospital staff.
In its judgment, the High Court:
- Declared that the physical and verbal abuse experienced by Josephine amounted to a violation of her right to dignity and her right to not be subjected to cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment.
- Found that the National and Bungoma County Governments failed to implement and monitor the standards of free maternal health care and services, thus resulting in the mistreatment of Josephine.
- Awarded Josephine KES 2,500,000 in damages for the harm she suffered.
- Emphasized the need to develop and implement policy guidelines so that quality and accessible health care services are available to all Kenyans, especially in the context of maternal health care.
- More about the case: Josephine Oundo Ongwen v. the Attorney General and 4 Others (Bungoma High Court Petition No. 5 of 2014)
- Read the High Court’s judgment: Republic of Kenya in the High Court of Kenya at Bungoma Petition Case No. 5 of 2014