Nurse Anna Zwick reports from Niger: “It’s as if Christmas had come early”

by Anna Zwick,  2010/10/29

It is a project particularly close to our hearts: the hospital in the African state of Niger. A country whose inhabitants are again and again threatened in their existence due to poverty, terrible famines, crop failures and all kinds of epidemics. Our hospital in Kollo, not far from the capital Niamey, is a place of hope for the Nigerians. Today the nurse Anna Zwick reports about her first two weeks as a member of the project team.

Besides medical care, the humedica hospital in Kollo also offers a nutrition programme. Photo: humedica/Simone Winneg

“Two weeks ago, I started my work as honorary nurse at the humedica hospital in Kollo, Niger. The mission will last about one month and I was excited and highly motivated.

And right in the beginning of my mission there was a reason to rejoice, when we received the news that the eagerly awaited container with important relief goods, in particular with food for undernourished children, had passed the customs and would soon arrive at Kollo.

We, the humedica employees felt as if Christmas had come early, and therefore we did not even care about the heat or the bruises we sustained at arms and legs while carrying the heavy boxes.

One of my main tasks is assisting at the hospital’s in-patient ward and in particular supporting and advising the local nurses. At the moment, the in-patient ward is mainly occupied by children suffering from malaria, who receive a three-day infusion therapy.

I soon set myself clear objectives: I decided to focus on a correct handling of infusions – from disinfecting the skin when laying the vein cannulas to proper documentation. My advice was and is gratefully accepted and I often receive words of thanks from the local nursing staff.

Although in Africa it takes time and patience to make my colleagues implement advice without assistance, I enjoy working here, as the nurses are motivated and willing to learn, even though not everything happens from one day to the next, as we are used to in Germany.

An important pillar of our work is offering training and further information to local staff. Photo: humedica

Furthermore, I also assist in the nutrition programme. At intervals of one or two weeks, those children in the severest state of undernutrition, or – depending on changes in weight – undernourished children receive their share of additional food. With obvious success.

Unfortunately, some of the mothers with children cannot attend the distributions regularly, since they have to help with the harvest at home, and therefore do not have time to come. But the majority attends on a regular basis and all those involved are pleased with this development.

Nevertheless, there are still children who are taken in at our hospital after a first diagnosis of severe undernutrition. For example there is little 9 month-old Hama, who had a body weight of only 4800 grams when he was brought to us. Of course, he was immediately integrated into the nutrition programme.

I really enjoy working here at the hospital and our success is obvious, although progress often takes a long time. But we still depend on further support and therefore I am particularly looking forward to meeting the next nurse from Germany who will arrive here in November. Experience and advice are needed and useful, and accepted gratefully by everyone here.

Thank you very much for your support so far. Please continue supporting us in order to implement this exceptional project.

Kind regards from Kollo,

Anna Zwick”

Dear friends and sponsors of our humedica hospital in Kollo: please continue supporting our efforts to fight the famine in Niger. You can support us by sending a simple and secure text message containing the reference DOC to 8 11 90 or you can make a donation for the people in the West African country via our online form.

Of course you can also choose the traditional way of supporting our relief efforts by means of transferring your donation to the account below:
      humedica e.V.
      Donation reference “Hospital Niger
      Account 47 47
      Bank Code 734 500 00
      Sparkasse Kaufbeuren


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