Ethiopia: World Health Day 2020 Ethiopia - Support Nurses and Midwives

Sr Ethalemahu G/Yohanees is a head nurse in Ghandi Memorial Gynecological and Obstetric Hospital in Addis Ababa.

Sister Etalem has served for more than 35 years as a nurse in different public health facilities. When she heard this year's World Health Day is in recognition of the role nurses and midwives play in making the world a healthier place, she said, "It makes me proud and motivated to do more."

"For over 35 years, I have worked as a nurse in different health facilities in Ethiopia and what keeps me going is saving the lives of mothers and children, day and night." She continued, "Nothing brings more joy than seeing a mother safely deliver a healthy baby."

In solidarity with the 2020 World Heath Day theme, Sister Etalem highlighted the unique contribution she and her fellow health professionals are making to fight against COVID-19 in the work place and communities. "In addition to our gynecological and obstetric service to mothers and children, we are also sensitizing mothers on COVID-19 prevention and control measures", she emphasized.

Sr Haregewoyn Mebrahatu is working as a midwife in Ghandi Memorial Gynecological and Obstetric Hospital in Addis Ababa.

When asked what it feels like for nurses and midwives to be celebrated on 2020 World Health Day, Sister Haregewoyn said, "Over the years, we have witnessed celebrities publicly rewarded for their work. It is our turn now. The recognition makes today symbolic and amazing! Our hardwork and dedication of serving people and saving lives have paid off. This is why today is fabulous, She added.

With over 17 years of experience, Sister Haregewoyn has so many touching stories to share. She recalled how at eight months pregnant, she mastered courage and strength to save the life of a mother in labor who was brought in by wheel chair. The mother arrived with complications of the baby's umbilical cord coming out before the head of the baby. The baby was at the verge of dying due to shortage of blood supply to the brain caused by pressure of the head to the umbilical cord. "I immediately repositioned the mother to release the pressure and took her to the operating theater", she recollected. "I joined my colleagues in the operating theater to assist with the surgery. Few moments after, I found myself lying on a hospital bed with the support of my colleagues, completely exhausted."

Sister Haregewoyn and other health professionals at the Ghandi hospital are supporting the fight against COVID-19 in the hospital. These health workers have installed hand washing facilities, provided sanitizers, face masks and education. They are also enforcing social distancing and screening and referring suspected cases to isolation centers. There is one room for isolating a suspected case at the hospital.

Asked what she would do if a pregnant woman with flu-like symptoms comes in for check-up, she said, "I will give her the needed service, provide her with face mask, while taking the necessary precautionary measures." She added that there is a triage process already in place to screen such clients with flu-like symptoms.

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