It has been 20 years since David Nyonga Atoni rolled up his sleeve and jumped into the nursing profession. Currently, he is the senior nursing officer at Loosuk Health Centre, in Samburu County. To David, nursing was a calling not just a job requirement for survival. “I knew I wanted to be a nurse from a very young age. I was always interested in taking care of people when they were sick and as I grew up, I followed my passion,” he starts.
David remembers, with a tinge of nostalgia, when his favorite aunt got sick and was admitted in hospital. “I wanted the doctors to help her quickly,” he explains “soon after she was hospitalised, she went into a coma. I was very worried at the time and thought of the worst. But the kind doctors and nurses cared for her, and she recovered. I think it was at this time that I knew I wanted to be a nurse. In fact, I would run up and down trying to also help care for my aunt,” he adds laughing.
Uzazi Salama Training Volunteers
Every day, David has to wake up and head to the health
“I start my day with checking the equipment and ensuring everything is available. Then I make sure that the facility has been cleaned well. I also have to confirm that all clinics for the day are set up accordingly,” he adds. Being the senior nursing officer at Loosuk Health Centre, David has interacted with CHVs on numerous occasions. “Currently, we have a total of 63 CHVs and Community Health Committees,” he states.
Many of the complex cases that David has seen in the facility involve child birth. “There are times when women come here after giving birth at home and experiencing some complications. Also, since the larger community in the region circumcises their girls, you find some women have difficulty giving birth due to the mutilation. I have seen many women who cannot give birth normally due to heavy scarring on the site of the cut, some forming big keloids. Such health conditions are challenging even for me,” explains David.
David agrees that nursing skills have to be upgraded every now and then and it is for this reason that he attended the Basic Emergency Obstetric Care (BeMOC) training by Amref Health Africa in Kenya.
“Through the training, I was able to learn how to handle many cases that I would not have handled before, due to their complexity, like management of sepsis and preparedness of APH/PPH,” adds David.
Looking at the statistics of Loosuk Health Centre, David is proud of the results recorded through the Uzazi Salama project. “The Loosuk Health Centre Community Unit was formed one and a half months ago. However, we have already seen impressive changes. For example, the number of deliveries has increased. Before the CU, we would record at most 9 deliveries in the maternity ward. However, since the inception of the CU, we have already had 21 deliveries this month!” explains an overjoyed David.
More Training is Still Needed
Concluding, David explains that there is still need for more training. “I am glad that the Uzazi Salama project will be extended to cover the whole of Samburu County, as the population would greatly benefit from it. However, it is important that health service providers also be sufficiently trained to ensure that the communities get quality health care. Personally, I would like to be trained on caesarian section procedures. We get quite a significant number of women who need this service but since we cannot offer it, have to refer them to Maralal County Referral Hospital.”