Officer helps woman give birth on street

By Marianne Nghidengwa

A heroic act by a Namibian Correctional Service (NCS) officer, who was on an Operation Kalahari patrol in Katutura, saved the life of a 20-year-old woman who went into labour on a street in the Hakahana informal settlement recently.

Correctional Officer 1 - Fabina Nditoudja Hangula (29) went above and beyond the call of duty when she helped deliver a healthy baby girl in a yard last Wednesday.

This comes after a heavily pregnant Lavinia Kashile was said to have beesn dragged out of a taxi by the driver when he discovered she was about to give birth.

She had boarded the taxi from home in the Havana informal settlement en route to Katutura Intermediate Hospital but when her contractions intensified, the taxi driver reportedly dragged her out of the car and left her on the street in Hakahana. Bravely, the young woman crawled to a nearby boundary fence, where she stood until the officer spotted her.

Reliving how she helped the young woman deliver a healthy baby, Hangula said she was the only woman working that shift and saw Kashile leaning against the fence. She immediately requested her driver to stop near the young woman to access the situation.

“It was on Wednesday last week around 17h00 when during our patrol in the area of Katutura I spotted the young woman. She was leaning on the fence and was covered in dirt. I was the only woman on the team and immediately I requested our driver to stop by her to see if she needed help,” the officer recalled.

The officer said she immediately discovered that Kashile was about to give birth and although she has no midwifery training, she sprung to assist the young woman.

“She told me about how a taxi driver dragged her out of the car when he discovered she was going into labour. She also said that she would not make it to the hospital. Immediately I ran into the house, briefed them about the situation and asked to make use of their toilet or at least the yard for privacy.  Those at home told me they needed to ask permission from the owner of the house, who was at work at the time.

“We were then granted permission to make use of the yard. I encouraged the young woman to stay calm and help me help her, given the environment and no equipment at our disposal. I went through a dustbin where I found empty plastic bags that I laid on the ground. I then removed her T-shirt, placed it on top of the plastic bags and helped her lay down.

“I then got two discarded plastic [bread] bags that I used [as gloves] to deliver the baby. The young mother was really brave and in a matter of time, the child was born. Not long after the child was born, the ambulance arrived at the scene and they further assisted the mother and baby,” Hangula narrated.

Hangula said that although she has no midwifery training to assist women in labour, as a mother herself, she was familiar with the situation, which was not too difficult to handle. “I don’t have training in that area, but as a mother myself, it was not difficult to assist the young woman. I saw someone that needed help and accorded them that help.”

The mother and baby are said to be doing fine, and have since been discharged from hospital.

NCS Commissioner-General Raphael Hamunyela said that Hangula’s swift response to a member of the public in need is commendable. “What she did is commendable and appreciated. We are proud of her action that saved a mother and a baby,” he said.