Traffic cop delivers 100 babies on the streets of Bangkok

Pol. Lt. Mana Jokkosung delivering a baby on the streets of Bangkok in 2013 | Credit: Royal Thai Police via The Telegraph

Sporting big bikes, brown outfits and guns on their hips, Thai traffic police officers don’t look like your average midwives. But in gridlocked Bangkok, pregnant women don’t always make it to the hospital in time.

In a sprawling city home to nearly 11 million people, sometimes the only way to reach those in need of medical help is on two wheels.

A motorbike weaving in and out of the traffic will reach someone in need much faster than an ambulance. That’s why the 160 men comprising Royal Thai Police’s traffic unit are medically trained first responders.

A 56 year old traffic cop, Pol. Lt. Mana Jokkosung, has delivered around 100 healthy babies amid the traffic of Bangkok – since he started the job 25 years ago in 1997.

Mana is a member of the ‘motorbike midwives,’ a team of traffic cops who – as well as dealing with the aftermath of accidents on Thailand’s perilous roads – have helped more than 250 women give birth on the streets of Bangkok in recent years, and helped thousands more reach the hospital.

The incognito midwife told the Telegraph

“I was nervous the first few times, my first instinct was that I didn’t want to deliver the baby,”

“But then the head started to come out, and I just had to get on with it. Now it’s much easier… but [it’s] still such a relief when the baby starts to cry, so you know it’s breathing and healthy.”

One nine year old girl from Bangkok named Pichayapa, who dreams of being a vet one day, calls the policeman “Daddy Mana.”

Pichayapa’s mother Aussayaporn Srichantra has never lost contact with Pol. Col. Mana after he single-handedly delivered her baby in a traffic jam on October 4, 2013.

After then-29 year old Aussayaporn went into labour, her husband Suthep Srichantra helped her into the car and headed toward the hospital.

Suthep told the Telegraph

“I was trying every shortcut I could think of, but everywhere was blocked… Honking my horn didn’t help either… of course I was afraid, I wasn’t sure what we were going to do.”

Time was running out and there was no sign of the ambulance, so Suthep called the traffic police. Within 10 minutes, Mana knocked on Suthep’s window.

“Suddenly Aussayaporn was in so much pain, there wasn’t time to go anywhere…. Mana looked again and could see the baby’s head, so he got his [gear] out and delivered her right there… in the back of our car.”

The mother said…

“I didn’t realise until [afterwards], but we’d stopped close to a crowded bus stop… When the baby came out, Mana said it was a healthy little girl and everyone in the area was very happy… she was the 50th baby Mana delivered.”

“People can lose their lives during delivery – it’s very dangerous… and the ambulance only arrived after I’d given birth. So we were lucky we had them.”

The life-saving work of traffic cops is not always recognised. It’s often overshadowed by the deep-rooted institutional corruption that’s given the Royal Thai Police a bad name.

Deputy commander of the traffic unit, Jiraklit Jarovnapat, said…

“People don’t like the police – especially the traffic police, they think we only give out tickets.”

But as well as delivering babies, Bangkok’s traffic cops perform CPR and are even asked to transport donated organs between hospitals in the city as quickly as they can.

If you’re stuck in Bangkok’s chockablock traffic and you need help, you know who to call.

Bangkok NewsThai LifeThailand News


Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.

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