Tanzanian mom gives birth in car at Durban refugee camp

2015-04-23 17:08
Salima Mkeuo (Amanda Khoza, News24)

Salima Mkeuo (Amanda Khoza, News24)

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Durban - It was the ultimate case of two neighbours helping each other out as a Congolese woman helped deliver the baby of a Tanzanian national at a refugee camp.

The mother of the baby girl was so grateful that she named her daughter after the accidental midwife.

Salima Mkeuo, 32, from the Democratic Republic of Congo, said she was looking after other women in the refugee tent when a woman approached her complaining about abdominal pain on Saturday night.

The mother, only known as Nuru from Tanzania, was too traumatised to speak to News24.

Mkeuo said she panicked because it sounded like Nuru, who has three other children, was in labour.

“She told me that she was in so much pain and that I must please call the police,” she recounted.

Police escort

A panicked Mkeuo assured the mother that she would get help urgently.

“I ran to the Isipingo police station and I found a police van parked outside. There was a policewoman and policeman sitting in the vehicle with the windows wound up. I shouted that I needed their help,” she explained.

“I tapped on the window and asked them to wind it down because I needed help. The policewoman refused to listen so I ran around to the policeman and told him that he needed them to call the ambulance for me because there was a woman in labour at the camp.”

She said the policeman advised that it would be better to escort them to the hospital because it would take longer to wait for an ambulance.

“The police escorted me back to the camp and the mother went into my husband’s car and we followed the police.

“We were driving to Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital in Umlazi but before we could even get out of the camp the mother began to push. The baby was coming out onto my hands, it was a baby girl.

“I was so scared because this was my first time delivering a baby. At some point the baby slipped and fell under the seat and we grabbed her and put her in her mother’s arms.

“When we arrived at the hospital the baby began to cry and I was relieved that she was fine,” said Mkeuo.

Mother and baby doing fine

The only concern Mkeuo had was the slow response she received at the hospital.

“But we are just happy that even though we delivered in the car, the baby and the mother were fine,” said Mkeuo.

She said the mother was angered by the way she was treated at the hospital however she was grateful for the help.

“She named the baby after me, Salima. I am very happy that they are OK and I feel honoured that she named the baby after me because, to be honest, I did not know what I was doing,” admitted Mkeuo.

Read more on:    durban  |  xenophobia

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