More from the Paediatric ward

The BCH paediatric nurses continue to provide top quality paediatric in-patient care, where malnutrition admissions have fallen over the years thanks to a combination of education for in-patient and high- quality preventative community care. Neonatal care has also improved dramatically; live discharges were 87.5% just a few years ago, rising to 98.7% of live babies at discharge in 2021-2022.

This week we hear from Owomugisha Agatha.

My name is Owomugisha Agatha. I am married with one son who is two years and six months old. I am from Rukungiri District which is nearby to Buhoma. I am an enrolled nurse and I have worked at Bwindi Community Hospital (BCH) for 5 years, I have always worked in the paediatric department.

This is my first job since leaving nursing school. I like working at BCH as it is a supportive environment. I feel trusted and valued by my employers.

I enjoy working with children, especially with newborns. Paediatrics is very interesting. Children respond very fast to treatment as long as they get the proper treatment. You feel proud when a child gets better and it is good to know that you are doing the right thing. I like working in neonates because of the way it makes me feel, I enjoy caring for a newborn and I feel grateful when I see them improve. My favourite thing about working in the neonatal unit is the holistic approach to caring for babies and supporting their mothers whilst their babies are in the neonatal unit.  I learn from mothers and the mothers also learn from me. It is a shared experience. The best thing that I have seen at BCH is the improvement in neonatal care. Several years back many babies would die, often from sepsis, but now it is very rare to have a baby die because the services have greatly improved.

A challenging thing about working at BCH is that the hospital serves lots of different communities who have different beliefs about healthcare. It can be difficult sometimes to convince families to adhere to the treatment needed and stay in hospital, even though we try our best to understand their perspective, explain what is happening and the prognosis of their child’s condition if they do not receive treatment.  Another challenge is that children who are from families who are not enrolled in the hospital insurance scheme often seek healthcare late in the illness when they are quite sick. Even for those families who are insured if the child needs referral to a regional hospital for more specialised care the families can feel insecure about leaving their community and they do not go.

My dream is to specialise in paediatric nursing, particularly neonatal care. Outside of work I enjoy being with my family and reading novels.’

REACH Bwindi continues to support the BCH paediatric department with nine salaries for paediatric nurses supported by grants in April 2021 (£2500) and in November, December and January 2022 (£7500). If you are interested in supporting the work of the hospital please take a look at our ‘Seven ways to support us’ page. Any help is much appreciated.

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