When attitude change and mentorship endeared me to preemies
When the Neonatal care room opened at my work place Kamuli General Hospital I was indifferent. I did not think it would help a lot because it lacked the required equipment. I for example thought that to keep premature babies alive required us having an incubator.
We were negative about the care of premature babies and sick newborns because they were dying despite trying everything. There was a time we kept referring to Kamuli Mission Hospital and Jinja Regional Referral Hospital every case that presented.
But my attitude changed once I attended the helping babies breath course and the on the job training and mentorship by Makerere University.
And the defining moment for me came when I was faced with taking care of premature triplets. I had to put in a lot to ensure that these babies survived and good enough the parents were supportive. They stayed on the ward for two weeks, as advised. Good enough they went with their babies alive; they were feeding well; and gaining weight normally on discharge.
Ms Anita Namayengo poses with her presents after being recognised as the best health worker at a symposium organised by our MANIFEST study
Again recently we had premature who scored badly in the test (Apgar score) we do evaluate a baby’s physical condition at birth. In this case the baby was severely asphyxiated (deprivation of oxygen to a newborn infant that lasts long enough during thebirthprocess to cause physical harm, usually to the brain). The first line treatment failed prompting us to go for the second line one. His temperature was too high and he had even started convulsing.
Miraculously, he started responding as we also closely monitored him on a two hourly basis. The high temperatures also started coming down. We fed him slowly until he started feeding normally on his own. And when we tickled him in the feet he responded. He left the hospital alive. Another life saved.
We thank God for the mentors who told us what to do when faced with cases like this one who we had to retain for two weeks on a course of antibiotics after presenting with signs of meningitis.
These experiences have since energised and changed me. It also taught me that what we sometimes see as something big, God sees it as something small. Since then I have seen more babies in bad shape thriving. I believe by God’s grace many more babies can be saved even through simple measures like kangaroo mother care which we are using quite a lot nowadays.
District officials congratulating Anita for being one of the best health workers in Kamuli District in 2015
*Blog by Midwife Anita Namayengo of Kamuli General Hospital