In the light of the just concluded international nurses’ week, we took a trip to Agba Umana, in Ezeagu local Government Area, Enugu State . Our intervention in the community lasted from 4th to 8th May 2016.
- To carry out a feasibility study ahead of our nationwide Slum/Rural health massive project targeted to bridge a huge gap in public health activities by implementing our health point station (HPS)
OBJECTIVE 2: As part of our international nurses’ week celebration, we decided to carry out the following activities in the village.
- To Assess the availability of health care facility around the surrounding communities in the LGA, their operations, staff strength, professionalism and challenges.
- To assess the health seeking behavior of members of the communities.
- To provide health enlightenment and free health assessment with emphasis on diabetes and HIV/AIDS.
Deserted village health center.(picture courtesy; Lead nurse Africa)
We had consulted the community leaders which made it easy for us to hit the ground running on arrival. We met a deserted health center that catered for an entire village, manned by two community health extension workers who can only communicate in Igbo language (known to the villagers as nurses). After about 30 minutes, one of the two community health workers (CHEW) returned to the health center and explained that they had attended a meeting at the Local government headquarter. We interacted with them to get a clear picture of, and an orientation about happenings in the community, their culture and their view about orthodox medicine and traditional medicine. Luckily, one of the CHEW is an indigene of the community and she gave us a rich history of their culture, health care and their challenges.
We mobilized the LNA team for house to house health call, assessment and enlightenment before gathering quite a number of people on day three at the health center for more assessment and intervention.
- The CHEW handles normal labor excellently with facilities provided by Nigerian federal government through the suspended SURE-P program.
- They have materials for conducting free HIV and Malaria test, having received training and the materials from the ministry of health at the Local Government Headquarter
A pregnant woman in labour, her mother, the chew and her assisting 12 year old daughter ( Lead Nurse Africa Picture)
- The health center lacks electricity and has no rechargeable or local lantern to work at night.
- There was no registered nurse or a visiting doctor attached to the health center. Consequently, they lack the experience and knowledge to admit a patient. The CHEW have her daughter, a 12 years old junior secondary girl as her assistant
- The health center cannot identify any other health condition order than normal labor and malaria
- The health center does not have a single glucometer to monitor blood sugar level even as a number of diabetic patients was identified and referred to a hospital in the nearby town by us. This is particularly important to us in the face of rising cases of death from diabetic complications resulting from late detection and poor management.
- Many pregnant women in the village still patronize traditional birth attendants (TBA). The CHEW reported to us that this development has lead to a number of serious complications that have cost the life of either the child or the mother.
- Sadly, we were told that once a pregnant woman is identified to be HIV positive, they usually abandon the health center on hearing the news and transfer to traditional birth attendance, ignoring every advice to visit a general hospital for proper counseling and care in order to avoid mother to child transmission and the spread of the virus.
- The above observation drove us to further investigation, we discovered a child orphaned by HIV/AIDS who herself is also living with the virus, malnourished and poorly managed. Abandoned at the care of an aged grandmother who is an illiterate poor village farmer. Lead Nurse Africa Counseled the Grandmother and lead her to register to a general Hospital in town where she collects free anti retro viral drugs for the child. We are currently making arrangement to re- visit the village to carry out a comprehensive documentary on the child’s heart breaking ordeal and also mobilize resources to be able to assist her and also reach out to more communities to identify people like her. More details on further measures taking by us will be published soon.
- The villagers have poor health seeking behavior, a factor responsible for late detection and poor management of thier illness. These are also complicated by a misconception widely held in the village, which they expressed with a slogan “WHAT ONE DOES NOT KNOW WILL NOT KILL HIM” OR “IT IS NOT OUR PORTION” AND ” SOMETHING MUST DEFINITELY KILL A MAN”. These poor health seeking behavior have traditional and religious connection and it is causing a huge setback in the fight against HIV/AIDS, Cancer, diabetes etc as many do not agree to go for medical test, while some who are already down with some of this manageable chronic diseases, attribute it to supernatural afflictions directed by enemies or angry gods. Such believe is widely held, even among the educated who are still attached to traditional believes or other forms of religious fanaticism.
At the end, it was a successful community health program as many received help and counseling to seek better health care . We gathered enough data that will facilitate our major programs across African countries.
Lead Nurse Africa.
SHARE YOUR IDEA WITH US ON HOW WE CAN CARRY OUT MORE EFFICIENT RURAL/SLUM INTERVENTION. YOU CAN SUGGEST ANY COMMUNITY THAT REQUIRES URGENT AID!!