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Mom humiliated by birth in car

Lebogang Makgetla gave birth in her father's car after the local clinic was closed.
Lebogang Makgetla gave birth in her father's car after the local clinic was closed.
Image: Shibu Mamokgere/SABC

A mother who gave birth inside a car in front of the clinic gate because the health centre was closed says she is ashamed to walk in public after the incident.

Lebogang Makgetla, 29 from Ngwaabe village in Sekhukhune in Limpopo was helped by her parents and a community leader to deliver a baby boy at 3am on Friday after she found the clinic closed.

The incident happened two weeks after the community had been promised by the provincial department of health that the clinic would be open 24 hours a day.

Speaking to Sowetan yesterday, Makgetla said she was ashamed to walk in public because the incident has become a village talk. "What happened to me it's a shame, I'm not surprised people talk a lot of things about it. It had never happened in the area that a mother delivers in a car," she said.

Makgetla said the health department must take drastic steps against those who failed to execute their duties.

"The department must act to stop this kind of incident from happening again by firing people. When we go to the clinic we expect to get help not be traumatised."

The mother said when she felt that the baby was due, she woke her parents up.

"My father didn't waste time; he immediately started the engine of his vehicle and we drove together with my mother.

"When we arrived at the clinic we found the gate closed and my parents started screaming for security's attention.

"After a while the security guard came and told us the clinic is not operating at night. My father called a community leader who came and called an ambulance."

The ambulance arrived an hour later and the baby had already been delivered, Makgetla said.

Her father, Jacob Makola, said villagers now refer to his Mazda 323 as "Ngwaabe Clinic" because he helped his daughter deliver in it.

"I'm not going to sell it. I will keep the vehicle as a remembrance and for my grandson to see where his birth took place," Makola said.

Last month, another Ngwaabe mother gave birth on the side of the road after she also found the clinic closed.

Department of health spokesperson Neil Shikwambana said the clinic had nine midwives, three staff nurses and two assistant nurses.

"It is against this background that the department has suspended with immediate effect the operational manager of Ngwaabe clinic. An interim operational manager has been appointed with immediate effect," Shikwambana said.

"The incident took place despite our district officials meeting with the nursing staff and community members, with the nursing staff signing a commitment promising they would be available to attend to cases of emergencies at night."

Community leader Ali Maabane, who also helped to deliver the baby, said the community was disappointed by the clinic's failure to provide basic services.

"I'm traumatised as we speak because I'm not a midwife. We have not been offered counselling, it's like nothing happened," he said.

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