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Farida Kavere: An emergency worker who saved a child from choking to death in a matatu

WOMEN IN SPORTS By Elvince Joshua | December 16th 2021 | 3 min read
Farida Kavere [photo courtesy]

A selfless off-duty Emergency Medical Technician who also doubles up as the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) women’s basketball team doctor saved a month–old baby from the jaws of death in a matatu heading to Kisumu.

Faridah Kavere happened to be one of the passengers who was travelling to the lakeside city when a baby who was in the company of her mother, choked from a blocked air pathway.

The incident happened around Kikopey, about 648.5 km from Mombasa where Kavere had embarked on a long journey to Kisumu to attend a First Aid refresher course.

Kavere’s trip and those of 11 other passengers on board the Shuttle, was temporarily halted after a minor developed breathing difficulty after she breathed fluid into her lungs.

According to Kavere, a trained Medic with over 10 years of experience as an emergency worker the baby suffered as aspiration.

Aspiration occurs when liquid or something you have swallowed "goes down the wrong way" and enters your airway or lungs.

Farida Kavere , a KPA basketball team doctor saves a chocking minor in a matatu [photo courtesy]

“The baby was convulsing and turning blue (because of lack of enough oxygen supply), Kavere a former sprinter who recently helped KPA to lift the Fiba-Africa Zone V Club champions held last month in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania told this writer who also happened to be on the same Matatu.

Kavere took control of the situation after commanding the driver to stop on a busy highway as she struggled to save the life of the minor.

“I looked at the mother and I could tell that she didn’t know what to do at that point.  The baby was turning blue.

“That’s when I ordered the driver to park by the roadside as I administered First Aid to the baby,” an instinctive Farida narrated to Standard.

Nasaka who was travelling to Luanda town, in the neighbouring Vihiga County was breastfeeding her baby. Unfortunately, and perhaps due to exhaustion the mother forgot to burp the minor who suffered severe aspiration.

“Most of the time I deal with emergencies and it has become like second nature. I just happened to wake up at the right time,” added Farida who claims that she has done voluntary work since she was 21.

Nasaka says that the baby developed complications after breastfeeding when the aspiration took place, with the milk coming out from the baby’s mount and nose.

“I was a little bit confused at that point.  I didn’t know what was going on. Maybe I could have lost my baby,” Nasaka.

But a quick fast aid that included five back slaps on the choking minor saved the day after the baby gained consciousness after Farida opened the baby’s airwaves.

An emergency medical technician is a medic who deals mostly with emergencies such as trauma, cardiac arrest or respiratory emergencies.

According to Kavere, the baby could have gone into a cardiac compromise or at worst, brain damage had she not received necessary medical attention.  

Kavere is also a former sprinter. She recently represented Mombasa County at the KICOSO games.

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