Niger: Between oxygen training and independence celebrations

by Simone Winneg/SRI,  2009/08/06

humedica-coordinator Simone Winneg is back in Kollo, the location of our hospital in Niger. Her current report shows how varied, colourful and hopeful the daily work in this country can be: between training measures and impressive celebrations of independence.

Oxygen training

After long months of planning and preparations, last week we were finally able to provide the hospital with some life-saving equipment: oxygen. This may sound like nothing special to a person coming from a Western nation, yet here in Niger only few health centres have this kind of equipment at their disposal.

And, as it is often the case with Africa, it has not been easy to procure the material: Signatures, waiting hours, pro-forma invoices, tax exemptions, etc…and then, simply procuring the oxygen is by no means sufficient.

The staff at the humedica-hospital Kollo were given an introduction to the right use of oxygen. Photo: humedica/Simone Winneg

In order to learn how to use the new material professionally and to provide the humedica clinic staff with the tools necessary for good work, we invited technicians from our supplying company SOGANI who gave us a demonstration of their material and held a general training for the staff.

In a patient and professional way, they explained the right use of the oxygen bottles to the nursing staff. They also provided us with detailed background information about the structure of such a bottle and the physical forces contained in it. Afterwards, all staff members were given the opportunity of supervised practicing of what they had learned.

We were trained not only in the professional use of pressure reducer, oxygen nasal cannulae and masks, but also in the professional and safe transport of the bottles. For two hours, the technicians took the time to answer our questions and give us detailed presentations.

For the humedica-clinic a further step into the right direction has been made: equipping the hospital to such a degree that a referral of patients to Niamey will no longer be necessary. People in Kollo are to receive the best treatment possible including high quality material, excellently-trained staff and general access to medical aid; something that, unfortunately, is not to be taken for granted here.

Celebrations on the occasion of the Nigrian Independence

On the third of August of each year the Niger has as its motto: “Everyone who has planted a tree, has not lived in vain.” 49 years ago, on the 3rd of August 1960, the Republic of Niger gained its independence after 70 years of French colonial rule.

And the Nigrians in Kollo usually celebrate their Independence Day with the planting of new trees. This action has an ecological background: the desert keeps spreading in this country. Two thirds of the Republic of Niger are already covered by the Sahara. The celebrations take place all around the country and up to 10 million of trees are newly planted.

As humedica-coordinator, Simone Winneg was invited to plant a tree. Photo: humedica

Also in Kollo, the “festival of the tree“ is celebrated and each year, the community chooses a new location for the celebration. This year, the mayor of the community of Kollo gave us the honour of choosing the humedica-clinic as location for the great event.

We are very happy about this; for a long time we had intended to give the hospital premises a friendlier and greener look, but up to this day the dry season and the numerous activities connected to the opening of the clinic had prevented us from putting these plans into practice.

The offer made by the mayor of Kollo was an honour and joy for the whole clinic staff. It shows us that our presence here is very much appreciated by the community, that we have become a part of it and that the local authorities want to express their gratitude in this way. They want to contribute in making the hospital a nicer place and thereby support our work.

The ceremonial starts with a festive speech held by the prefect, accompanied by traditional drum music. The first tree is planted and watered by the Prefect himself, others follow: the Mayor, our staff members, citizens of Kollo and, of course, me.

I picked a mango seedling that I planted on the premises of the clinic. Altogether, more than 50 trees were planted in front of and within the walls of the clinic: the whole front of the hospital will be greener in future and, thus, brighten up not only the clinic but also the townscape.

Of course it will take some months or years until we will be able to pick mangoes from the trees and eat them. Yet by a year’s time already, they will provide pleasant shade. And given the present rainy season, they will hopefully grow fast, so that the humedica-hospital will hopefully greet its patients with a green entrance very soon.

Kind regards, see you soon,
Simone Winneg

Please continue to support our important work in Niger.

humedica e. V.
Reference "Niger"
Account 47 47
Bank Code 734 500 00
Sparkasse Kaufbeuren

You are also welcome to make an online donation via the following link: Niger.
Thank you very much for supporting us in any way.

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