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The Worst to the Best

Posted: on June 14, 2013

Story by Paul Beck (All images credit Medair)

There is no ideal location for a woman in labour to start experiencing complications. However, a remote region of impoverished South Sudan may well be one of the worst places.

When Nyandeang, a 16 year-old mother-to-be, entered a fourth day of obstructed labour, it was clear she needed to be in the country’s best hospital as soon as possible. The distance and time involved in an overland trip to Juba, South Sudan’s capital ruled out that option though. A quick call to MAF was made and a flight diverted to collect Nyandeang.

Medair staff in Juba sprang into action as soon as the plane with Nyandeang and her dazed husband on landed, lifting her by stretcher into an improvised ambulance. Dodging traffic and potholes, the vehicle safely and swiftly brought Nyandeang to the hospital. “By this time, this child who was half my age was raging with fever and starting to show a lot of distress,” explains Stella, a Medair worker. “I crouched beside Nyandeang on the floor, feeling helpless. She looked terrified. All I knew to do was place my hand on her shoulder and try and speak soothingly to her, knowing she could not understand me but hoping she would be comforted by my tone. And prayed. A lot.”

the_worst_to_the_best_4_250Nyandeang was taken into the delivery room, screaming. The baby had already died, but the body was delivered successfully. Mourning for her lost child, Nyandeang is now back in her village and making a slow recovery.

“We know that if Nyandeang had not been transported to Juba she would certainly have died too,” begins Stella. “The MAF team’s response and actions were fantastic,” she concludes.

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