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One On One With Elizabeth Deh, The Nurse Who Saved Mother And Baby

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Ami knew she was almost due for delivery but did not know it would be that fast. Of course, Nurse Elizabeth had confirmed that the baby would arrive soon and had even scheduled a final antenatal visit to ensure that Ami was physically fit to welcome her bundle of joy.

Elizabeth waited patiently for her client to come but Ami never showed up; not even after the session was over.

The Champion Nurse

About a week ago, Elizabeth Deh, a 32-year old midwife and mother of two became a subject of interest after her name and pictures went viral on social media.

Realising that Ami (not her real name) had not observed her pregnancy care schedule, Elizabeth decided to follow up to her house to see if all was well. And true to her fears, all was not well, as Ami was in labour.

She did what was expected of her as a nurse; and today, she is being hailed all over as the modern day ‘Florence Nightingale.

The United Nation Population Fund (UNFPA) – Ghana even celebrated her for saving the life of a client who had not showed up for her regular antenatal visit.

Elizabeth narrated to The Publisher what actually transpired and how she became a social media sensation overnight.

Elizabeth’s version

Apparently, Elizabeth’s client was locked up in her room as contraction began, followed by a gut-wrenching pain overwhelming her entire being. She tried moving but her legs would not budge. All she wanted was that the agony would subside—if not disappear. To the labouring client nothing could be more brutal than being in labour with no hands to hold and no eyes to see whether or not you are slipping into oblivion.

Nonetheless, the midwife’s timely visit brought to birth Ami’s baby girl, whose birth certificate, unfortunately, cannot indicate she was born in a hospital.

Broken Health Systems

Though Elizabeth’s story was one of success, she revealed that the health systems in the town where she works were totally broken. She took time to elaborate a few.

Elizabeth said, “My client could not go to the clinic that fateful day because the roads leading to the Community Health Improvement Services (CHIPS) compound were so deplorable that only a motorcycle was rigid enough to travel the bumpy distance and that day, there was none available.”

She continued: “It is not appropriate for a pregnant woman to sit on a motorcycle but that is the only means of transportation they have got…sometimes, they use tricycles.”

For the health workers and people of Ve-kolenu in the Afadzato South District of the Volta Region, the situation is more alarming when there is an emergency and a referral is made. According to our ‘star nurse’, there are two things involved—Afajato South has no district hospital to refer patients to; and on the other side of the coin, there is not a single ambulance to convey ailing patients to the nearest district hospitals (which are miles away) to receive emergency care.

“Three weeks ago I referred an emergency case…it was raining heavily…the driver took GHȻ50 from Ve-kolenu to Kpando. Where would poor farmers get such an amount from?” Elizabeth lamented.

Education Is Low

Aside having unfriendly roads, Elizabeth said health education in the town is on the downside.

“Most of the women do not understand the importance of antenatal treatments so we do intensive home visits…I schedule with my co-workers and other community nurses around and we move to the communities in the evenings between 5:30pm and 8:00pm because they go to farm in the mornings. We meet them, talk to them and schedule visits. So once you are scheduled for a visit and I don’t see you, I come to your house,” she revealed.

Ve-kolenu And Environs Need Health Interventions

Elizabeth and her colleagues work tirelessly to ensure that the people receive proper healthcare and have therefore made an honest appeal to government and the general public to come to their aid with various health interventions.

“We need a lot of items to aid delivery and other health-related issues. The people here are farmers and not financially sound to help…I have to buy dresses for the babies…most of the women come empty handed to deliver,” she said.

Concluding, Nurse Elizabeth made this humble plea: “If only the authorities can help the district with even one ambulance or car to help with referral cases…we also need some ‘parcels’ for the mothers after delivery so that it can motivate others to come for antenatal.”

This is the touching story of what has become known as the ‘door-to-door’ nursing practice in some deprived communities in 21st Century Ghana.

Elizabeth carrying the newborn baby while the mother looks on
Elizabeth examines a client
Elizabeth gradually gains the trust of the people of Ve-kolenu
Elizabeth places the baby on a bed

Source: Grace Ablewor Sogbey/ ksogbey@gmail.com

 

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