It was indeed the other side of the Lagos State Transport Management Authority (LASTMA) on June 5, 2018 when two officials became emergency midwives to a lady who gave birth by the roadside just by their duty post. ANTHONY NWACHUKWU got the details of the incident from the enterprising officials, Mayor Esther Onyegbule and Traffic Officer 11, Adebukola Adenuga.
In one of those uncommon incidents, a lady (names withheld) was caught by the pangs of childbirth at the middle of a subway close to Ago Roundabout, Okota, on her way to the Isolo General Hospital, where she had registered for anti-natal.
Like most other things that could hardly be controlled, she had already delivered the baby there in the open, unattended, which attracted a huge crowd of unhelpful onlookers. According to Adenuga, “I was controlling traffic at the roundabout when I noticed people focusing on one side, so I went there to check what was going on.
“Getting there, I saw a woman sitting beside another who had just delivered a baby. The woman used her bare hands to carry the baby up. Immediately, we rushed the woman to a hospital close by, but they refused to assist because she didn’t register with them.
“It was so indicting because the incident took place beside that hospital, so they should have been the first to attend to the emergency when called upon. On instinct, however, my mayor and I decided to check her bag, and then discovered that she registered with the general hospital.
“At that point the woman was already gasping for breath, so we rushed her to Isolo General Hospital. On the way, I pressed down the diaphragm for the placenta to come out, and it did. So, when we got to the hospital, the nurses cut the placenta before we carried her inside for clean-up.”
The delivery of the placenta seemed so easy and natural, though she was not yet a mother nor had delivered anyone of baby. Rather, it was an art she learnt from her midwife/matron-mother, who she said she used to occasionally join to the hospital and on medical outreach to pregnant women, and “that was how I got the knowledge.”
Still excited for saving lives in the course of her duty, she said that “God favoured the woman, else she could have fainted or the child landed with the head on the hard surface, and probably fractured the skull.
“Even when we got to the hospital and narrated the story, a pregnant woman was among others who donated clothes and wrappers because they were apprehensive that a child was delivered by the roadside. More so, they didn’t expect LASTMA officials to help an emergency delivery to and even aid placenta delivery.”
Nevertheless, she advised pregnant women nearing due delivery date to be in the hospital ahead of time, perhaps a day or hours ahead, or as soon as the person gets slight pains close to the due date, depending on how close she lives to her hospital.
On her part, Mayor Onyegbule said they were motivated because they were in uniform and on duty.
According to her, “the crowd was growing and beginning to obstruct traffic. Instinctively, we knew something was happening there, so we came in and, behold, there was a woman, and a baby on the floor, but everyone was just looking, apart from one woman that held the baby in her bare hands.
“So, we got two commercial tricycles (keke) in which we put the woman and the woman carrying the baby. Being by the road, the incident caused serious gridlock from Ago Roundabout within minutes as people gathered to look.
“We had to alight from the keke to make way for them to the hospital. It was quite an experience and huge credit for LASTMA because we are talking about life here.
“Besides, the incident had already drawn a lot of onlookers, including drivers on the road, which created a gridlock within minutes. So we were actually achieving two things by removing the obstruction for the traffic to flow. And actually, the moment we took up the woman and her baby, the crowd disappeared.
“Apart from a bad image for LASTMA if anything bad had happened to them, it would also have been very difficult clearing the traffic without first solving the problem that caused it. So, we feel that our reaction was a win-win for our agency, which prime target is orderliness and safety on the road, and by all means humanitarian