Twenty-six-year old Dorcas Nabwire has served at the Amref Kibera Health Clinic in Kenya as an Antenatal Care nurse and a midwife for the last three years.
A mother of one and expecting her second child, Dorcas says her choice of career stems from her generous heart of helping people, especially her fellow mothers. “I feel so good when I see mothers deliver successfully; that is my greatest joy.”
At the facility, she works at the pre-natal, post-natal and delivery care units providing care to pregnant women, mothers and newborns. Her clients are teens and young women between the ages of 17 to 26, of which most of them are in their third or fourth pregnancy.
“I have to educate them on family planning as well as counsel the young girls who are pregnant, as often they come to the clinic when stressed,” says Dorcas.
“I have always wanted to help and support people, especially women, and this was the right path choice of my career,” she says.
Thanks to the online training opportunity offered by Amref, Dorcas has been able to update herself on COVID-19, equipping herself with knowledge and skills that she passes onto her patients.
Every day, Dorcas attends to approximately 30 women coming for pre- and post-natal services and two or three women during delivery. “I would estimate about 50 children have been born through my help in this clinic,” she says proudly. “It is a blessing to my soul.”
During COVID-19, things are not easy for Dorcas, who is pregnant. Many times she fears risking her life and exposing herself to the virus. “I was scared when a pregnant nurse in Kenya died from COVID-19. I am also pregnant and our work as health workers exposes us to many risks. Nevertheless, I try to protect myself as much as I can,” she says.
Although the work is challenging and exhausting at times, what keeps her motivated is the fact that she brings a new life to this world. According to Dorcas, the pandemic unfortunately reduced the number of pregnant women coming to the clinic. “We were worried because most women feared coming here and the numbers decreased,” she says.
At the clinic, admissions of pregnant women coming for pre- and post-natal care dropped drastically in April and June last year. This drop in numbers has been linked to COVID-19, as women feared coming to the health clinic and potentially contracting the virus. To dispel the mother’s fear, Community Health Workers have played a critical role in ensuring mothers know how to safely attend their pre- and post-natal care visits.