|Kendra and her baby|
story of a young woman who was rejected during labour in Akwa Ibom State
has again brought to the fore the high maternal and infant deaths in
the country. Rebecca Ejiforma chronicles her experience and how she and
her newborn were saved by a good Samaritan.
the pain of hospital negligence and still come out alive with her baby
hale and hearty. Share luck and determination to stay alive were the
only reasons she could live to tell her story.
Ibom State had attended ante-natal at the health centre in Ikot Idaha
without issues for months until about 8am on April 28th,the day she was
billed to deliver.
“Ante-natal was very easy for me; I
had no issues at the health centre prior to when labour started. My
problem began when I started having discharge. I called my mum and told
her, because I was still living with my parents while my husband was
working in Lagos,” Kendra said, while narrating her gory experience with
to deliver, her mother, Mrs. Fabian-Bassey, rushed her to the midwife
close to their home, who specialises in delivering babies. “It was a
Saturday and the health centre doesn’t open except week days, that was
why my mother took me there,” she said.
almost time, hence she instructed Kendra to do some exercise. “After
which she prepared me for delivery. That was when she discovered my baby
was coming out with legs, instead of head. My mum and everyone became
concerned. And the midwife ordered that I be taken to the hospital,
since the situation was beyond her expertise,” Kendra explained.
inactions of the nurses of the private hospital, Abasi Ekene Health
Centre – left the entire family devastated. “Together with the midwife,
my parents and my aunt followed me to the hospital. I was in pain
because the baby was really torturing me. But the nurses were acting
slowly. They said my parents must register me first, buy blood and hand
gloves before they could attend to me.”
FESTAC, Kendra said that as traumatising and excruciating as it was
under labour, the nurses said they would not touch her if her parents
didn’t pay for the listed items. “So, my father paid N500 for card, N500
for the gloves and N1000 for blood.”
the attitude of the nurses, who refused to look at the state of their
young pregnant daughter. ‘Why are you taking so long to spell her name?’
her father questioned angrily. “They couldn’t spell my name. When my
father insisted on spelling it, they declined. So, he screamed again if
they wanted me to die. They still didn’t mind him.
registration, then rushed me to the theatre. The nurse checked me and
confirmed that my baby was coming with legs. That was when she told us
the doctor was not on seat.”
the founder of Abasi Ekene Health Centre, also works for a public
health facility in Ikot. “The nurse explained the doctor’s whereabouts
and quickly called him on phone. He then instructed her to check if I
could have normal delivery. She did but told him my baby was coming with
legs. So, the doctor said he was sorry but he was attending a meeting
in the public facility.”
the hospital, Kendra said the doctor instructed the nurse to transfer
her to the teaching hospital, where doctors were present. “She took me
out of the theatre and told my family to take me to the teaching
anymore. While I was crying and perspiring heavily, she was crying too.
But I told them I would not go to any other hospital but to my church
because my pastor takes care of pregnant women too.”
years old first-time mother, who got married to Mr. Effionk-Donald from
same state last February. Hence, she told her father to take her to
church as she couldn’t cope anymore with the pain. “My dad refused.
Quickly, they pet me into his car and we drove off. Immediately we left
the health centre, I felt something coming out strongly from me. I
screamed and told my mum that my intestine was coming out. That made my
dad stop driving and parked on the road. It was 6p.m. already. And I was
weak and in great pain.”
jumped down from the car and began to scream for help. “Passers-by and
residents of the streets rushed to our aid; even the nurses from the
hospital dashed out but stood afar to watch. That was when a good
Samaritan, who happened to also be a nurse, was passing by. My mum
called out for her and pleaded she save my life and that of the baby.”
longer follow the hippocratic oath they took, explained that when the
good Samaritan tried to come to her aid, the nurses from Abasi Ekene
Health Centre rushed to her warning that their doctor had already
referred her (Kendra) to the teaching hospital.
strength. She explained that the “good nurse, Esther didn’t heed to her
colleagues. Rather she got angry and rushed to help me,” she noted.
as nurse Esther made successful efforts at delivering the baby. “She
asked for a bowl of water, clothes and others things. She then urged me
to push. Within few seconds, my baby’s legs came out but stopped around
the chest region.”
strength and couldn’t push any further. “I lost strength, but I could
still hear everyone around me talking. “Consequently, the nurse began to
search for my baby’s hands. She had to pull the baby out because she
was already crying inside me. My mum was panicking. That was when I
became worried. The nurse asked my mum to give her a blade but she
refused. She didn’t want anyone to tear my body.”
girl stopped crying from the inside. Hence, it became necessary to pull
her out forcefully to save her life and that of the baby. “My baby girl
was brought out still. She neither moved nor cried. I started crying
really bad. My mum’s tears knew no bounds. The nurse screamed and
ordered everyone to pray. She said her covenant with God was that no
baby will die in her hands in this profession.
waking up. The nurse beat my baby on the back very hard. But nothing.
She poured the baby a bowl of water and beat her, yet nothing. I was
crying and begging God to help me. More passers-by came to us. The nurse
asked for a pumper, which a woman swiftly brought one from God knows
where. She inserted it into the baby’s nostril and pumped. When the baby
was not responding, she gave her cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
And we all watched for some seconds.And there, the baby sneezed.
Everyone screamed so loud. There was shouting and jumping. And my baby
began to cry. The nurse said it was after over 20 minutes that my baby
Kendra expressed boundless gratitude to the people of Ikot and
passers-by for their love and humanity towards her. “That nurse was just
a good Samaritan. I still don’t know how to thank her. But when I visit
my home in December, I shall show my appreciation to her. And God bless
all the people who helped me: my mum, dad, aunt, the midwife and people
of Ikot,” Kendra explained.
fortunate as Kendra in such rare situation. At least about 145 women die
daily in Nigeria due to childbearing. The total rate of maternal and
newborn mortality is a contribution of the 36 states and the Federal
school, hippocratic oats are sworn and they are expected to be followed
to the letter for the purpose of saving lives. The oat nurses swore to
reads: “I solemnly pledge myself before God and in the presence of this
assembly, to pass my life in purity and to practice my profession
faithfully. I will abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous,
and will not take or knowingly administer any harmful drug. I will do
all in my power to maintain and elevate the standard of my profession,
and will hold in confidence all personal matters committed to my keeping
and all family affairs coming to my knowledge in the practice of my
calling. With loyalty will I endeavour to aid the physician in his work,
and devote myself to the welfare of those committed to my care.”
and can do great wonders for humanity if followed effectively. While
several professionals and associations have accused attitudes of health
workers as one of the reasons, others have claimed prayer houses and
religious beliefs have contributed to the high maternal mortality the
country presently has.
remind nurses, doctors and other health of their ath and consequences of
breaking it. And if the state government looked into the issue of its
maternal mortality now, it could save the lives of more women both in
Akwa Ibom and Nigeria in general.
General, Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), Professor
Innocent Ujah, told THISDAY that Akwa Ibom and Cross River states have
very high maternal mortality rate in the country, fingering roles played
by religious houses, attitude of health workers as major causal factors
for the high mortality rate.
While the country, collectively, is trying to reduce this appalling
figure of women being buried, there is need for proper monitoring of
doctors and other health workers in achieving the target.