Haminatu: the Ghanaian nurse who with only a polyethene bag as gloves successfully delivered a pregnant woman onboard a tricycle
Labour is one scary moment during pregnancy that most women fear. The sight of a woman in labour could scare the next one from wanting to ever get pregnant. So it is often a case, especially in this modern era that women keep strict adherence to antenatal and often time take multiple scans to help them know when they are due so they could be attended to by professionals at approved health facilities.
But today, we tell the story of one who was saved by a heroic unemployed nurse onboard a tricycle better known as ‘Mahama Cambo’.
When Haminatu boarded the tricycle at Bolgatanga, the Upper East Regional capital, she had only one thing in mind; to get home to attend a funeral: the very reason she decided to embark on that journey in the afternoon of Thursday, November 24, 2022.
However, as if she was sent by the angels of the soon-to-be new mother and her baby, she turned out to be one-half of the needs a woman required at her delivery even if she had to do with a polyethene bag instead of medical gloves.
The young nurse who was trained at the Nalerigu Nurses and Health Assistants Training School in the North East Region though not a midwife was available to do what was nursey to save the mother and her unborn child by conducting a safe delivery on the road.
Ms Haminatu Apigsiya a native of Sirigu in the Kasena Nankana West District explained the entire incident and how she saved the situation and she told our reporter when she was contacted via WhatsApp.
“I boarded the Cando[tricycle] from Bolga to Sirigu together with a student, a pregnant woman and caretaker of the pregnant woman who had a fractured hand. When we started moving she said her stomach was paining so when we got around the regional hospital[Bolgatanga Regional Hospital] and I told her to let us get to the regional hospital so they can attend to her since her stomach is paining because it could be labour.
However, the woman said she wanted to get to the facility where she goes for antenatal. That community is Zorkor, a village that is approximately 27km from Bolgatanga.
According to the 2019 graduate Registered General Nurse, things changed drastically though they were yet to even cover half the journey.
“We weren’t halfway gone and she started complaining and was sweating so I said we are not far from the regional hospital so why don’t we go back so you could seek help? I don’t us to go and get stranded at a place where probably need help and won’t get a facility,” but she like before, insisted on getting to her facility.
She, however, told Haminatu that she went to Bolgatanga to buy items towards her delivery, a confirmation that she was near and her current situation could be labour. To be alert to assist, the young nurse told her to inform her in case the situation is getting serious.
Along the way, the woman could not sit again. She stood up in the tricycle and was sweating profusely. So Haminatu who was sitting at the other end of the three seats in the tricycle with the pregnant woman’s caretaker in between them enquired from the caretaker if the woman was wet and she responded in the affirmative. That was when the nurse knew she had to act.
Hamina requested a polyethene bag from the caretaker and when she got one, she used that as make-do medical gloves to assist the woman.
According to her, the woman did not agree to her offer to help but upon further appeals, she finally agreed and let down her clothes for her to check. The tricycle driver was asked to park and then the nurse who had not yet introduced herself as a nurse to her travelling mates began work. Upon checks, she realized the cervix was full and the baby’s head was already in the vagina which meant that the baby woman cannot sit or walk again. She asked if there was a facility around they could move to but the answer was negative so she decided to take the risk and apply what she learnt in school.
The woman was made to lie on the roadside for her to conduct the delivery.
“I literally delivered her on the road[bare floor] because she didn’t have a cloth. She didn’t have anything and the baby’s head was in the vagina in such a way that she couldn’t have walked away from the roadside for me to do that so she just had to lie by the roadside on the bare floor for me to conduct the delivery there,” she explained.
After the delivery, they drove to the nearest health facility which is the St. Theresa Health Centre at Zorkor where the woman attends her antenatal and the nurse handed over the mother and her new baby[a female] to the nurses at the facility.
On how she felt while conducting the delivery, she said “there was so much pressure on me. It was my only prayer to be done successfully”.
When I asked her if she feared things could have gone wrong she responded, “Yes… but I just prayed for God’s guidance”.
Reacting to a question on how she cut the umbilical cord, she said “A guy was passing with a bike so I begged him to get me a blade from a shop that was ahead of us”.
She further explained that she had nothing to clamp the cord so I can do the cutting so she waited for the blood to flow back before she cut the cord. She took a strain of hair from the woman’s hair and tied the umbilical cord. She added, “though I know it[hair strain] was not sterile but I had to tie the cord so I did that”.
To the ordinary, this story may just pass as one of the stories but anyone who has witnessed a woman in labour would understand the magnitude of work involved. Kudos to our young nurse who is still at home awaiting employment since completing school in 2019. But for her, we would have been writing a different story by now.
Haminatu’s heroic story follows that of Juliana Atanga, General Nurse at the Baptist Medical Centre in Nalerigu successfully delivered a woman under similar conditions on the Bolgatanga-Tamale Highway. Miss Atanga was assisted by students from Nalerigu Nurses and Health Assistants Training School, the same school as Haminatu who were travelling in the same car as the pregnant woman from Tamale to Nalerigu.
Note: Myactiveonline.com is doing follow-ups to talk to the woman or her family to hear from them and see how our new neighbour is doing. We will update this story when we get in touch with them.