A Zambian soldier has earned nationwide praise after helping a pregnant woman deliver her baby.
Lance Corporal Humphrey Mangisani was promoted to full corporal for his act.
He had arranged for a motorbike to take the mother to hospital, while he followed on his own bike but she went into labour on the way.
“I had to help her in a maize field while it rained,” Corp Mangisani said. He found a razor blade and cut the umbilical cord.
“I risked my work by being absent from camp to help her,” the corporal told Zambia Reports.
He said he took the baby to hospital
Corp Mangisani said he was trained to take risks and he took one helping the woman in the eastern district of Petauke. In honour of his efforts, he was asked to name the baby and he called him Raymond Tembo.
His commander in the army said his actions would change the popular perceptions of soldiers. Instead of being seen as someone who would cause harm, Brig Gen Kelvin Kanguma said Corp Mangisani had shown “that a soldier is someone who can help”.
Over 100 new-born babies die in Zambia every week as a result of errors and omissions during delivery, according to the country’s health minister Sylvia Masebo.
One of the reasons for this is that many women in labour arrive at health facilities late after attempting home deliveries because of the long distances to health centres, especially in rural areas. Lack of adequate qualified health professionals is another factor.