Hedwig’s Story

Hedwig’s Story | Make PPE Available for Everyone

Due to the uncontrolled movements of people across the Uganda and Tanzania boarder, Rubondo Health Centre II in Nakivale Refugee Settlement is now located in an area that is threatened by a potential outbreak of covid-19. The situation has worsened due to the unavailable access to PPE and other hygiene supplies to protect vulnerable populations such as refugees from COVID-19.

Hedwig works as a midwife with Rubondo Health Centre II situated at the Uganda Tanzania Border and serves Nakivale Refugee Settlement. Given that the health centre is close to the border of Tanzania and Uganda, it gets patients from both countries including the refugee’s settlements. With limited COVID-19 testing available for everyone, there is an increasing risk of spreading the virus.

“As a health worker, we are in constant fear of contracting disease as we are expected to continue providing our services amidst this pandemic. By the nature of our job, we are in constant proximity with our patients, and protecting ourselves is becoming increasingly harder due to limited access to PPE.”

Consequently, the health workers such as Hedwig have become increasingly vulnerable to COVID-19, and the situation is worsened because they cannot access COVID-19 testing when they need. This is true because COVID-19 tests are unavailable in remote areas of the country such as Nakivale Refugee settlement which is located more than 380 kilometers away from the capital. Therefore health workers in these remote are constantly worried that they will not only catch the disease, but are mentally by the mere thought of infecting their family members weighs a lot of our mental health.

The health workers mental state is further affected by the limited knowledge in diagnosing COVID-19, particularly in the absence of proper testing as well as other respiratory diseases having similar symptoms. Therefore, receiving updated information on COVI9-19 and regular training on how to handle patients that might display symptoms attributed to COVID-19 would go a long way in addressing their fears and mental health amidst the pandemic,

We are therefore grateful for our collaboration with Shared Action Africa that helps us access PPE and other hygiene supplies that have enabled us to continue providing the essential health services to the refugee and host communities in Nakivale Refugee Settlement. We are also hopeful that through this partnership, health workers will receive the psychosocial support we need to remain mentally stable and continue to provide quality health care services to our patients.


Health Worker Story

Health Worker Story | Skilling Health Workers

Jessica , an enrolled midwife at Nakivale health centre iii is one of the participants in the training Shared Action Africa conducted among the 20 frontline health workers (midwives) from 7 health centers to provide family planning services and cervical cancer screening to or refugee women in Nakivale Refugee Settlement. The theory and practical training equipped the health workers with knowledge and skills to provide quality integrated family planning and long acting family planning services to maximize availability and accessibility of FP services at all levels of family planning service delivery.at Nakivale Health Centre III, working in the maternity ward. She is one of the frontline line workers trained in the provision of family planning methods and cervical cancer training.

“I can now administer cervical cancer screening and can properly diagnose it and support women who have it. I also gained skills in the administration of both short-term and long-term family planning methods, but I am particularly for the new knowledge on the insertion and removal of IUDs, use of female condoms and cervical cancer screening. I had never seen a female condom before the training but now I know how to use it. I can offer a wide range of family planning services. Since the trainings, the family planning users have increased from 50 to 70 per week. Much as we still have to deal with a lot of misconceptions, cultural beliefs and wrong information in the community concerning the use of family planning, we the health workers are more empowered to support the women and girls that come to health centre to receive health

The training also improved my customer care skills as I serve the women and girls who come to the facility. Some of them can’t properly express themselves in the common language but I can understand what they are saying. This training enabled me to understand the human rights-based approaches of providing quality care.

Nevertheless, the demand exceeds the supply; due to the large number of refugees in the settlement, we have limited resources in terms of manpower and supplies. This causes unwanted pregnancies leaving many women and girls in vulnerable situations. Passing on this knowledge and skills to Village health teams will go a long way to increase the number of FP users and cervical cancer screening since people will be more aware and services will be brought nearer to them.”