Ordeal of child delivery in Abuja community without water, hospital

Ordeal of child delivery in Abuja community without water, hospital

  • Mother of triplets narrates experience

 

Gloria and her triplet

ABUJA – To say life has been very difficult for Gloria Ndoka and her family is an understatement. Things have been made worse for the family in the past three years, after it had its triplets. Raising a set of triplets in Gbaupe, a community where potable water, electricity, communication network and health facility are never available, remains a huge burden the family has been carrying, Mrs Ndoka told Nigerian Health Online.
Apart from being the first woman in Gbaupe village to have such blessings, her family is probably the first in the community to sell its own modest house, a two-bedroom bungalow, to enable it feed its children. The Ndoka’s  had three children before their triplets arrived. Now, the family struggles to fend for its six children, including their education and feeding.
Memories of the birth of her triplets and circumstances surrounding their upbringing made tears roll freely on Mrs Ndoka’s cheek while speaking with our correspondent recently. This newspaper was in the village to see how people of the community live amidst dearth of basic amenities.
“How would one beat her chest that a set of triplets as these ones would survive in a village like Gbaupe if not for God? I have seen much pain. We don’t have a hospital, good road, potable water, electricity, including means of communication with the outside world,” she said.
Some residents of the community make use of streams, which have been polluted by human and animal faeces and other wastes. Others who have the means buy water from a few water vendors who charge indiscriminately.
After selling its house, the Ndoka family has since been living in a rented self-contained, the 32-year-old woman said.
She explained that her family lived on a retail business before the triplets were born. According to her, the business shut down shortly after they were born because of the costs of caring for them. Her husband soon went into farming, she stated.
“Since I gave birth to these triplets, the expenses have been too much. My husband exhausted everything in his shop and eventually had to shut down.  He is now a farmer.
“Before the triplets were born, we were living in our own house. But, with the way things were going, for instance, they all fell sick at the same time; we could not cope with the expenses. That was the only thing we had to get money from; so the children would survive. We had to sell it,” the woman noted.
The Ndoka’s sold its house for a million naira and decided to buy a car that would be used by the father for taxi within the city. But, the car developed some problems, and the family had to park it, the woman said.
She explained how she gave birth to the children without a health facility in Gbaupe: “When I was carrying their pregnancy, I registered at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada and Kuje General Hospital. I normally attended antenatal at Kuje but  they didn’t tell me on time that it was triplet.
“During labour, when we got to Kuje, they said I should see the specialist in Gwagwalada as they didn’t have the equipment for my case. The doctor who attended to me said he would write a referral letter for me and that I must go to Specialist hospital. The thing was very strange to me, and I was eager to know what happened. I had been giving birth to other children without problem; I wonder why that should be different. I didn’t have any problem even when I was pregnant.
“The doctors and nurses at the Specialist hospital were asking me why I had not been coming to them during antenatal; I said it was because the hospital was very far from me. When they saw the letter the doctor in Kuje hospital wrote, they shouted. They said it was triplet I was carrying. I said no. They asked me if I was not the one bearing Udoka, I said it was me.
“They insisted it was triplet I was carrying. My body started shaking. I developed fear immediately. They did all they could to calm me. They said I had been carrying the babies but I didn’t know. Within minutes, they took me to the theatre and asked my husband to donate three pints of blood. They started calling my family, and everybody rushed to the hospital to see me. My brother donated blood, my husband and other relation did too. After the delivery, they didn’t give me blood. They said I was fine. They said I should be watching to see what would happen.
“Before the operation, the last scan confirmed that the last baby, which is the girl, was immature. They said they would put him in incubator. The pregnancy was nine months, though. They said the other two boys were on top of the girl. But, when they brought the girl out, they discovered that she was normal.”
The Ndoka’s is not the only family facing the challenge of dearth of basic amenities in Gbaupe. It is a challenge which everyone in the villages struggles to overcome.

Danjuma Gejere, Chief of Gbaupe

Community leader, Danjuma Gejere, said a river which had been the only source of water for his forefathers had been polluted by human faeces and other wastes. Residents no longer make use of them, but would rather seek water from other unsafe sources such as wells among others.

Gbaupe, under the Kuje Area Council, is one of Abuja’s communities begging for attention of government to get basic amenities.
The community is blessed with many hills, which makes the agrarian settlement flourish in food production. Despise its food sufficiency and existence for about three centuries, it lacks virtually basic amenities. Residents climb to the top of hills before they could interact with people outside the village.
Many women and children have breathed their last on untarred but motorable road linking the village to Aco Estate, located along the Airport Road, in a bid to save their lives at nearby hospitals when they were sick, residents who spoke with Nigeria Health Online revealed.
The community is about five kilometers from the Aco Estate, along the Airport Road, which unfortunately doesn’t have any public health facility.
Electricity poles and cables stand on every street of  Gbaupe but there has been no light in the town  for years.
Danjuma Gejere, head of the community, told our correspondent: “We have one clinic here, but it can’t serve the whole of the community. We do go to Lugbe and other clinics inside town. Now, we have another challenge, which is water. If you see any borehole here, it is owned by private individuals,  not government. I have pleaded with government; they are not listening to me. I begged for clinic, government failed to consider me. It was one organization that came and built the small clinic in the community for us.”
The clinic was donated by the US Embassy last July. It is a very small health centre, managed by Kuje General Hospital. It can take about six deliveries at once. Nurses and other medical staff at the hospital are rarely seen by people of the community. Sources from the Chief’s palace said the staff resume whenever they like and close latest by 1pm. The day Nigerian Health Online visited the facility on a working day, was under lock by 11 am.

The Cottage clinic donated to the community by the US government

The chief said further: “There are numerous challenges in the community namely light, road, water, communication network and health facilities. These are the problems facing us as a people.”
Asked how many years the village of estimated 15,000 people has been in existence, he said “It’s been many years. I won’t tell you a lie, I will tell you as my grandfather told me, it’s been about 300 years.
“People are dying in this community because we don’t have clinic and potable water. Men are even dying as a result of lack of these amenities. Before we take some of our pregnant women to Lugbe, (where they are good hospitals) they are already dead on the way.”
The Chief decried attitudes of politicians to his community. He said wherever there was election, the community would get promises from persons seeking elective offices, and that they never get anything after elections.
Another resident of the community, Esther Ezekiel, a pastor’s wife, had lost one of her twins during birth.
Since they have to cover many kilometers before they can access a good hospital, people of the community are always at the risk of losing their newborns. The Ezekiel’s lost one of their twins as a result of lack of health facility in the village.
Mrs Ezekiel, a mother of three, said she had been delivered of her first two babies at home. But, the twins were delivered at a hospital in Lugbe, Abuja.
“The first one was a baby girl. She came out with leg instead of head. It was this one that survived that came out with head. The one that came out with leg had already died before she came out,” she said. She believes that had there been good hospital around that baby would have been alive.
“Living here is not easy. There is no good hospital, no road, no light and there is no means of communication, despite the fact that we are not far from the city. We need government intervention in these areas. But for the cost of living in town, people will not desire to live in this kind of village where basic amenities are lacking completely,” she said.
Afiliki Limi is also an indigene of the community. Her baby’s name is Grace. She was delivered of the six-month-old baby at home. She attended antenatal at the cottage clinic donated by the US Embassy before her delivery.
But, when she was to put to bed at night, there was no health provider to attend to her because the health centre is always closed by 1pm anytime it is open. She was delivered at home by local midwives.
“It is true that I am an indigene but the suffering for water and good things in this village is much. See our population, we are many but there is no good thing to make our lives comfortable. Even the mobile telephones being enjoyed by people in farthest communities are not available here, despite the fact that we are very close to the heart of Abuja,” she told NHO.
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