The Mourning of Baby Stephen Baraka

People giving their send offs to Baby Stephen Baraka

It is being reported that the baby was abandoned his entire lifetime. It is said that  Baby Stephen Baraka was born in 2016 having deformities. He was born having a deformed face and a cleft palate.

Baby Baraka was supposed to undergo corrective surgery on his face. But the hospital could not carry out the surgery because it was very complicated and a delicate one.  However the hospital recommended that he be transferred to a better equipped hospital for the operation, but to no  availability of parents or family representatives  sign the required documents. Doctors at the hospital believe the baby’s parents abandoned him because of his deformities.

Baraka was the most affected due to the  doctors and nurses’ strike in 2017, due to them wanting an increase in pay.For the period the boycott lasted, Baraka was not attended to, just as was the case with many other patients. He, however, suffered more as he had to remain at hospital through lack of an alternative side, while other patients found their way to private facilities. The child remained in the care of hospital staff and well-wishers after it emerged that the couple that brought him to hospital may have used fake identities.

A group of well-wishers that came to know about Baraka’s plight kept visiting him. Hospital records show that the infant was admitted to Ward One and was scheduled for corrective surgery. “A man and a woman using fake identities got him admitted before sneaking away the same day,” a source at the hospital said. Three months ago Baraka died. Still, no one claimed his body. The hospital’s management set out to look for his parents, but the search was fruitless. When two weeks ago the hospital announced a mass burial for unclaimed bodies, 24 volunteers requested to be allowed to bury Baraka’s body. The hospital granted their wish and on Saturday they buried him at the Mamboleo cemetery. One of the volunteers, Duncan Mustapha, condemned the infant’s parents for abandoning him. “This demonstrated how people born with disabilities have been stigmatised,” Duncan exclaimed. Since 2016 when Baraka was abandoned at the hospital, Duncan and some other well-wishers had been visiting him.

The send off

“We were hoping he would get treatment and live normally, like other children. It is unfortunate that his parents abandoned him,” he said. “We felt he should get a good send-off. He did not deserve the treatment he got. This is also to send out a message that we should stop stigmatising those with deformities,” said Mustapha. Finally, Baraka was accorded last respect, complete with prayers, speeches, reading of the eulogy, singing and a short sermon before the body was lowered into the grave in a decent coffin.