A Nurse’s Experiences in Kenya
The summer is going by so quickly. Here in New England it already seems like fall! In Tanzania, August brings National Examination time to the seven sponsored students who are graduating from Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center (KCMC). They take both written and practical exams that last until the end of this month, and then have to wait 2-4 months before they receive the results! During this period some students go home to their village, while other students try to find work until they receive their results. We wish them all well and we will let you know exam results as soon as they come in.
Below is a group photo taking during our 2013 visit with this year’s graduating students:
Last month we wrote to you about Sarah who graduated in 2011from KCMC Nursing School and works in a fistula repair unit at Comprehensive Community Based Rehabilitation in Tanzania (CCBRT) Hospital in Dar es Salaam. Congratulations are in order. Sarah has been accepted into the three year Bachelor Degree program at Muhimbili University in Dar es Salaam and will start this fall! Sarah is the first graduate we have sponsored who has chosen to pursue additional education. We are really excited for her. Hopefully she will write us from time to time and let us know her progress.
This month we would like to tell you about another of our sponsored students. Emmah graduated from KCMC in 2011. At the graduation ceremony she received an award for the highest overall grade point average among the graduating class. She is a very bright young woman who hopes to continue her education in the future.
After the death of her father, her mother moved back to Kenya. Following graduation in 2011, Emmah also moved to Kenya so that she would be closer to her mother. Since then, Emmah has helped support mother and her siblings. After helping her brother finish his education, she is now paying her younger sister’s school fees. Emmah shares that her mother is currently recuperating from illness:
“My family is doing well despite my mum who is sick suffering from Brucellosis. She is taking medication and is getting better.”
Emmah currently lives and works in a very poor, very rural area in the Habaswein district, in the Northeastern province of Kenya, just a few kilometers from the Somali border. The population is ethnic Somali and do not speak either Swahili or English.
There is no network in the area making communication very difficult. Since the local people do not speak English or Swahili, Emmah is learning their language so she can provide better care. She is currently working at the Biyamathow Health Clinic. There are no inpatient services at the Health Clinic. Care is focused on outpatient services and maternity cases. There are only two health workers at the clinic who see on average of 50 patients per day, plus managing an average of three deliveries a week. Patients with complications are referred to the main district hospital for further management, but Emma says referrals are rare. She said that education is a significant part of interacting with the patient:
“Most activities carried out here [the clinic] are nutrition, curative, medical, immunizations among many others.”
Emmah does do some follow up home visits on postnatal cases focusing on education such as the need to come back to the clinic for immunizations, importance of breast feeding and family planning.
Below is a picture of Emmah during a visit to a traditional Somali home:
The area where Emmah is working is very poor and the environment is quite harsh. The previous photo and the photo below illustrate the dry and desolate environment. The donkey cart is used for transporting water – yes, this is a posed picture.
Since the area is so rural and desolate, there are not a lot of things to do in her free time.
“During my free time I read books and sometimes visit some patient who have recovered to check on there progress and to try to learn there language as they teach me this helps me become busy. Otherwise am enjoying working in a hardship area.”
We are very proud of Emmah and the care she is able to provide to the local population. Similarly, Emmah is very proud of the healthcare she is able to deliver. Below is a photo of her. When she posted the photo she provided the following caption: “At work, and proud of my profession.”
In this and the prior newsletter I have described two of the 46 nursing students who have who benefited from your generous donations and have completed their nursing studies. I hope that you have enjoyed reading about Sarah and Emmah and their nursing careers. If you have any questions for either of them, please send them to me at email@example.com and I will post responses in our next newsletter.
Thank you for your support!
Linda van Werkhooven RN, President
Tanzania Nursing Scholarship Program