It is going to take a village to raise these triplets, who were born to Sthandiwe Madlokovu, centre, on the roadside in Marburg on the South Coast. Her niece Amanda Mjoli, left, and nurse Xolisile Shabalala help to hold her babies. Picture: Supplied

Durban - A South Coast woman, who used to work part time as a packer at a nappy factory, is now in desperate need after giving birth to healthy triplets on the roadside.

It was thanks to the quick reaction of KZN EMS paramedics that Sthandiwe Madlokovu, 27, safely delivered her babies.

Although paramedics Stanley Zulu and Siboniso Khuzwayo took only 10 minutes to respond to the call in the early hours of Saturday, Madlokovu, who believed she was expecting twins, had already given birth to one of her three daughters.

After an hour of labour alone in her informal dwelling in Mkholome, near Marburg, Madlokovu banged on her wall, alerting a neighbour to the fact that she needed help.

Knowing it would be difficult for the ambulance to drive through the informal settlement, she asked her neighbour to help her walk to a main road. “When we got there I lay on my back on a blanket and the first baby immediately came out,” she said. A female neighbour was called to check on the baby.

Zulu said the team arrived just before the second baby, another girl, was born and the pair assisted Madlokovu, who was expecting the labour pains to subside as she had given birth to her “twins”.

“My colleague Khuzwayo inspected her further by feeling her stomach. That is when he realised that there was a third baby.

“We then helped her deliver again and then the placenta was delivered to signal that the birthing process had ended,” Zulu said.

“I was shocked but happy, I could hear my babies cry which meant they were okay,” Madlokovu said.

She said when her partner Sandile Vani arrived at the hospital, he was surprised and happy.

“We decided on the names Owami, Okuhle and Olona,” Madlokovu said.

After three days in hospital, the mother and babies were given a clean bill of health and sent home. Madlokovu cares for the triplets alone because her partner is away during the day at his periodic construction job, or he is out job hunting, and her relatives live in the Eastern Cape,

“When all three cry, I put one on each breast and one on my lap. They are always hungry and crying, day and night, but I’m not complaining, they are my blessings and feeding well is a sign that they are healthy,” Madlokovu said.

She said she was grateful to the paramedics for their assistance.

Health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo saluted Zulu and Khuzwayo. “Delivering a baby is not for the faint-hearted. It can be a complex process under the best of circumstances. To help someone who was expecting twins deliver triplets safely, outside a health facility, is extraordinary.”

Overnight, Madlokovu’s family has doubled to six, as she has a three-year-old daughter, Zikho.

She said she would apply for child support grants as she needed assistance to care for her triplets.

The Mercury