Thirty six-year-old Malama Inno has given birth ten times. Like many women in Nigeria, she delivered at home with the help of only a traditional birth attendant. Just six of her newborns survived. Inno needed help—to protect herself and her family—so she and her husband chose family planning. But in 2010, unrest in the city of Jos forced her family out of their home and into a refugee camp, where they could not afford family planning. When Inno finally returned home, she was pregnant again. She had no idea she would soon be fighting for her life.
Around midnight in May 2012, Inno went into labor. Despite delivering alone, cutting the cord and washing her newborn girl herself, she remembers the birth being “quite easy.” Inno recalls what happened next—a sudden wave of dizziness and blood pooling around her—then nothing else.
Two days later, Inno regained consciousness.
Her husband and doctors had to tell her what happened: After she collapsed, Inno’s husband brought her to the local health center, where Pathfinder-trained providers administered intravenous fluids and gave her medicine. They immediately placed her in a wrap (called the non-pneumatic anti-shock garment or NASG), which maintained blood flow to her vital organs.
“The wrap worked like magic,” said Inno’s husband. “When we took her to the hospital, she was not breathing. I thought she was dead. But right after the doctors began working and put her in [the wrap], she started breathing very fast and moving her arms and legs.”
Imagine that moment. Just think of everything and everyone that depended on Inno’s survival.
Although the bleeding stopped, Inno urgently needed a blood transfusion, but there was no blood at the health center. So she was transported to a specialist hospital all the way in the state capital, where she received six units of blood. Over the next two weeks, Inno slowly recovered, along with her baby girl, who overcame a severe infection.
Inno and her family thank the providers for saving her life. But the truth is—no woman should have to go through what she did.
No woman, nowhere should have to fight for her life because she doesn’t have medical care and supplies available at every stage of her pregnancy. Because she doesn’t have a choice about pregnancy in the first place.
That’s why a Pathfinder-trained counselor began working with Inno and her husband, making sure they knew they had choices—to be free from never-ending pregnancy and to protect Inno and the six young children who rely on her.
Today, Inno is using family planning again. As she finishes her story, she scoops two of her children into her arms and holds them tight.