IntraHealth International

Our commitment: IntraHealth is a global champion for health workers. We have pledged to double our impact between 2011 and 2015 to ensure that more health workers are present, ready, connected, and safe. Mission: IntraHealth empowers health workers to better serve communities in need around the world. We foster local solutions to health care challenges by improving health worker performance, strengthening health systems, harnessing technology, and leveraging partnerships. ...
Sep 16, 2015

Joining Health Worker Organizations

The nursing students at Alkan University have almost completed their training and are beginning to look towards the future and their interactions with Ethiopia’s professional health councils, and also think about how they will stay in contact as they move back to their home towns or other rural communities in Ethiopia to practice.

Part of their training includes interactions with a variety of health professional organizations, though the majority of their first three years of training was spent on studies, as Tsehay points out: “In the last three years I gave my major time to my education and I had no time to interact with professional associations. But now I am on the way for graduation and can participate in different professional activities.” These activities include both professional groups organized under the ministry of health and the government, and non-governmental associations. Every student, in order to get their professional license, is required to join the government organized system. This way, all health workers in the country are registered, and the government can best identify where more health workers are needed.

The students are now eagerly preparing for their last certification examination, which will allow them to practice. Eyerus says, “I am prepared to take the last COC examination which is a prerequisite to get my professional license from the above mentioned organization and be part of the health professionals.”. These professional organizations are also the main way the students anticipate staying in touch with one another.

Almaz even talks about pursuing an advanced degree in nursing, and shares this goal with many of her colleagues. She comments, “Most of my colleagues and classmates have a plan to upgrade their profession to degree level and I am one of them. This will be possible after one year experience…I expect that will help me stay connected with my colleagues and classmates after graduation.”.

Having strong professional organizations help build Ethiopia’s health worker work force and we are so proud of these students for becoming a part of these many organizations.

Jun 16, 2015

Nurses Empower Women through Family Planning

In Mombasa County, Kenya, cultural practices, religion, and other factors often stand in the way of women making choices about their reproductive lives. The dominant ethnic group, the Mijikenda, tend to marry girls at an early age and believe in large families. Cultural illiteracy and poverty are both common, particularly among women.

Linnet, a nurse at Mbuta Model Health Centre in Mombasa County, located ten kilometers from the nearest major hospital, did not have the proper training to consult and provide women with necessary contraceptive technology. Though she was able to administer contraceptive injections and pills, these forms of birth control are highly technical in practice, and many women who are illiterate cannot use them properly. Other birth control options were not available at Mbuta Model Health Centre.

 “In 2012 there was a woman who wanted an implant,” Linnet says. “But when I referred her to Mombasa, she did not make the trip because she lacked money for transport. After three months, she came back and wanted to have the injection. But when I ran a pregnancy test, she was already one month pregnant.”

 During a training course in contraceptive technology use, Linnet learned how to provide and use methods such as intrauterine devices, implants, and injectables. She was also equipped with counselling skills to help women make important decisions about reproduction. This training was funded by the Afya Elimu Fund, which allowed Linnet to expand her knowledge about women’s reproductive health and empower the women in her community to make informed choices.

Throughout Kenya, 17% of pregnancies are unwanted and 26% are mistimed. In 2013, 6,300 women died due to pregnancy-related causes. Women in rural and impoverished areas face particularly high risks, especially when—like the woman Linnet saw—they’re unable to access the care they need.

 Thanks to the training that Linnet and her peers received, health workers at Mbuta Model Health Centre now have the necessary background to support women and allow them to make informed reproductive decisions. This training would not be possible without the Afya Elimu Fund, which provided Linnet with the necessary financial support to attend.

May 12, 2015

Reflections from the Field

Being a nursing student in Ethiopia presents all kinds of challenges, from supply shortages, to long commutes, to difficult-to-reach locations, but it also brings many rewards. This quarter, the students at Alkan University reflect on their experiences in the health facilities, what they have observed, and how they feel they are making a difference in saving lives.

When asked about the health facilities, every student observed and reflected on the inadequacies they witness. From supply shortages to lack of training facilities, the students encountered challenges in the facilities where they worked. Haymanot notes, “the institution has a shortage of the necessary equipment and no learning center for the demonstration of different cases so that students are able to discuss [with] each other.” However, she also adds that despite these shortages, the health professionals at each facility do their best to care for their patients. “The health institution provides an excellent service to its customers. The health professionals are so nice and they treat their patients appropriately.”

Despite these shortages, working with and learning from other health professionals has proved to be very rewarding during these clinic visits. Tsheay says, “it is the cooperation of many stakeholders which has a great contribution in saving lives. Out of these, the health professionals at the health facility are the most important. During my stay at the health facility I [had a] good relationship with this health professionals and got a good skill by observing what they were doing, asking them about things which were new to me, and share[ing] their experience.”

But, what has been most rewarding for each of the students is learning how to be a nurse, and witnessing the impact nurses can have on their patients. Almaz reflects, “the profession I am learning taught me how to work with patients. I am satisfied when I am giving care to them even in difficult circumstances.” She looks to the future and what she hopes to accomplish in the coming years as a nurse, and what impact she can have on improving patient care. “I am having the vision to support and keep patients safe and healthy. To drive progress on the way care is provided, I am focused on improving the coordination and integration of health care, engaging patients more deeply in decision-making and improving the health of patients with a priority on prevention and wellness. These major strides in patient safety are a result of strong, diverse coordination and active engagement of the health professionals, patients, and families. I feel that I am one of these concerned bodies to make a difference in saving lives.”

Thank you to the nursing students at ALKAN University for sharing your reflections with us and being the stakeholders that create change. And to those who support these students and our continued mission to serve as champions of the frontline health worker, thank you too. To learn about other ways IntraHealth International is empowering frontline health workers, visit us at www.intrahealth.org or sign up to receive our news and updates.

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