Elia Kamhulu-Ndhiyoohany, 24, the only male mid-wife at Windhoek Central Hospital maternity ward has one regret: asking women to take off their underwear so that he can insert his fingers in the birth canal.
He also says there are times when women call him names and shout at him when they have contractions since he will be the only male figure at the time.
But apart from this, Kamhulu-Ndhiyoohany enjoys his work and does not contemplate leaving any time soon.
One of the women he helped give birth, Evelyn Uiras recalls the day her water broke and she called for a nurse. To her surprise, Kamhulu-Ndhiyoohany came to her rescue.
“At first,” Uiras recalls, “I was reluctant to be assisted by a male nurse.”
However, she had to give in later when the contractions became unbearable and the other female mid-wives were busy assisting other patients.
Uiras is not the only one who has undergone the same experience but many other bundles of joy have been delivered by the hands of Kamhulu-Ndhiyoohany.
Yolandi Tjiueza (30), a mother of two related her experience during the delivery of her second child under Kamhulu-Ndhiyoohany’s hands.
Tjiueza says Kamhulu-Ndhiyoohany was very gentle and helpful during the delivery of her second born than the female nurse that had assisted her during her first child’s birth.
“The last time I went for delivery, I was in pain and it was late at night so I really did not mind who assisted me; whether it was a man or a woman. I did not pay attention to that due to the labour pains but he was gentler than the lady. He did not use all those vulgar words female nurses use. It all went well and next time, I would prefer to be assisted by a man,” she said.
Kamhulu-Ndhiyoohany is the only male officially assigned to the maternity ward and has been there for the last four years.
He completed his comprehensive nursing degree at the University of Namibia and during his internship; his passion for working in the maternity ward grew stronger.
“When I first went for internship, they wanted to place me in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) but it was very traumatising seeing people suffering and dying. So my last option was working at ‘9-east’, which is the maternity ward and since then, I have not worked in any other ward and I don’t think I will. I enjoy it here,” he says.
Recalling his first time experience, he says; “I felt the pain, the burden and the urge to help the lady deliver. It was too agonising. I soon got out of the delivery room and luckily, there was a colleague to assist the patient further.”
With time, he started enjoying his profession; “I mean, I was a young man and it was a new experience. I had never seen a lady giving birth before.
"Just imagine having to do this to a 48-year old lady who might have a child the same age as me.”
Kamhulu- Ndhiyoohany says the discomfort that comes with the job won’t stop him from doing the job he loves and enjoys.
“I have been here since 2008 and I deal with a lot of ladies; young and old. It’s my daily routine and it has become normal to me. There is nothing weird.
“Once, a lady in labour pains yelled at me, shouting that she does not want me to touch her private parts and it was very embarrassing but when the baby started coming out, she had to give in to my assistance,” he says.
Kamhulu- Ndhiyoohany is well trained and is very professional.
“I don’t take any of those insults personally because I know when women are in labour pains, they lose their senses and worse, some men don’t like it when their wives are being assisted by me.
“If there is another mid-wife available, they take over but there are times when I am the only one available and ready to assist,” he concludes.