Reproductive Health Lecture
In most of our reports we focus on how unmarried and married adolescent girls, the target audience of our program, have benefitted from our interventions. We rarely talk about the dedicated frontline workers who bring about change in society by working day in day out for years. We would like to share the story of one such change maker – Nirmala.
Nirmala, has been working as a nurse for our organization for the last 8 years, since 2009. One of her unique qualities is that she would identify adolescent girls in need and provide individualized service to her beneficiaries. She would insist on additional inputs from the management if she felt that some of her beneficiaries needed such support. On numerous occasions Nirmala worked overtime as she insisted on accompanying her beneficiaries to the hospital for emergency medical care. With such a deep commitment to her work she has been able to save the lives of several married adolescent girls who would have died during pregnancy without timely intervention.
Nirmala, has given of herself without any reluctance and has been able to touch so many lives over the last 8 years despite the fact that her own life was full of stress and worries.
She had lost her father at an early age. After she completed her nursing her mother got her married. Soon after her marriage she realized very soon that her in laws had lied to her. Her husband was not willing to do any full time job and did not earn. The burden of running the home fell squarely on Nirmala’s shoulders. Once she joined as a nurse at IHMP eight years ago, she never left. Her husband on the other hand, never earned and never gave her any money. She even stopped expecting that he will ever earn. She raised her two children on her own and has ensured a good education for them.
Despite her stress she would come every day for work and provide services to girls and young women in the community always with a smile. But for this reason she was always very particular about her own health and would panic if she ever got unwell.
On 28th April 2017, Nirmala complained of pain in the abdomen after coming back from work in the slums. When the pain became very severe, she and her family went to a nearby general hospital. The cause of the pain could not be diagnosed. After two days when she stopped passing stools and started vomiting she was asked to get a CT scan but her husband did not have any money.
When her condition came to the notice of her colleagues, everyone pitched in and started a save ‘Nirmala’ campaign. The organization got her CT scan done. As soon as we had a definite diagnosis of intestinal obstruction we got Nirmala posted for emergency surgery on 5th May. During surgery it was found that gangrene had set in because of which more than half of her intestines had to be removed.
After surgery, Nirmala went into shock and was unconscious and on the ventilator for 4 days. All her colleagues took turns to be at the hospital beside her in 6 hour shifts. The entire organization had only one objective. This dedicated colleague who had saved the lives of so many married adolescent girls deserved our concern and support in every possible way.
Nirmala, is still very weak and she will suffer from digestive problems and diarrhoea for rest of her life as a consequence of removal of major part of her intestine. She will be on blood thinning medicines for her lifetime and she will require frequent visits to see a specialist doctor. Yet she is rearing to get back to work.
It is because of workers like Nirmala that the organization had the courage to make a commitment that we will reach 154000 adolescent girls. We will be able to keep our promise because of workers like her who continue to work silently and diligently despite the problems and stresses in their own lives.
Nirmala’s surgery and treatment was very costly. We wrote to our friends and supporters and so many have made substantive contributions. We are very grateful for your timely help and support. Nirmala reminded us that our work with unmarried and married adolescent girls would be impossible were it not for the silent dedication and commitment of the people that work in this in this organization. Care givers also deserve care and support in times of need.
At KEM Hospital General ward
Shifted to general ward after four days in ICU
Anemia book distribution to adolescent girls
Nirmala assisting a baby's check up