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On April 17th, MSF Dr Deo Kabila was at a refugee site in Am Doukhum, Chad, on the border of Sudan, preparing for a vaccination campaign for the local population, refugees and Chadian returnees. It was the end of the day, and he and his team were on their way back to the MSF base when they received an emergency call advising them to turn around and go back.
“The local authorities had been informed by the leader of the Sudanese refugees that there was a Sudanese woman who had been in labor all night and was having complications. When we returned we were taken directly to the woman. It turned out she was expecting twins.
The first baby had been delivered at 4 a.m. and was fine but there was a problem with the second baby. When there are twins, sometimes following the first birth, the second baby gets turned around - and this is what happened.
His arm was sticking out and it was clear that if we didn’t move quickly the woman and her second baby would die. As we couldn’t provide the necessary care on-site, we asked the patient if we could bring her back to Tissi where MSF had just set up an emergency department. She agreed.
Even then we weren’t certain we would be able to save the woman and her baby - as the emergency department had not been designed to handle complicated deliveries. But the options for a transfer to a hospital by road or air were limited.
Using what we had on hand in the emergency department, we were able to deliver the second baby successfully. The mother stayed with us for three days and she was so happy to go back to Am Doukhum with her two babies. I was also very happy. It was my first delivery in Tissi.”
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