It is often in adversity that we find our true internal strength as one nurse from Maragua can attest.
On Wednesday, Ms Alice Wanjiru Ndiru was recognised by her peers for her heroism in helping three women deliver babies safely despite having delivered her own barely two hours earlier.
Ms Ndiru, a nurse at Maragua District Hospital, was recovering in the hospital’s post-natal ward after the delivery of her child.
However, it was the night that robbers struck at the hospital, binding all the nurses and attendants and forcing them to lie on their stomachs in the yard outside.
“I heard some mothers crying out, and wondered why they would do so, yet the hospital staff were not responding. I left my bed and walked to the labour ward. The corridors were very quiet and deserted,” Ms Ndiru said.
She was unaware that the robbers had struck on that night, April 7. On reaching the labour ward, she found three women in labour, but no one to attend to them.
“I started helping them to give birth. By God’s grace, there were no complications in the deliveries,” she added.
This would have been routine work for Ms Ndiru had she not been in pain and weak from her own delivery only two hours earlier.
After the delivery of two boys and a girl, she moved the three women and their newborns to the post-natal ward and then went to look for the hospital staff.
She found them tied up under a bench in the yard by the robbers who had just fled. She untied them and helped them call for help from other areas of the hospital.
“She was obviously still weak and in great pain from her own delivery. Any mother can tell you that two hours after delivery is too soon even to get out of bed,” said Mrs Mary Njuguna, the Central provincial nursing officer.
Speaking during a ceremony to award a certificate and a token of appreciation to Ms Ndiru, her peers were full of praise, aware that she helped deliver three children safely in her condition.
“Alice went beyond the call of duty. Many would have chosen to remain in bed. Weak and in pain, she chose to walk to the labour ward and deliver the babies. This is something that deserves recognition,” said Mrs Njuguna.
Ms Ndiru has been a nurse for 11 years, and considers it more of a calling than a job.
“Wherever I go I can’t take off the tag of nurse. It is a duty you carry with you at all times,” says the humble nurse.
Deputy provincial nursing officer Beatrice Muriithi said the gangsters held hostage one female nurse, who was raped. She has since been transferred to another hospital.
Ms Muriithi wants Kenyans to recognise the sacrifices made by nurses at work. “There is a lot of good work done quietly by nurses such as Alice which goes unrecognised.
“All we ask is that people appreciate that we do try to do a good job in the circumstances under which we work,” she said.