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Yadeshe Mitku: A Nurse Transforming Women Lives in Ethiopia

Category : News/Current Affairs
Posted By : eStaff
Posted Date : 19 Mar 2019 17:45 hrs

By Olivia Hadar

Yadeshe-MitkuThis is an inspiring story about a humble health care professional named Yadeshe. She is the Head Nurse on the surgical ward at the Assosa Regional hospital in the Benishangul-Gumuz Region of Ethiopia. She is a 32-year-old woman with remarkable stamina for making change and being a superb role model for doctors, nurses and all women throughout hospital and the community. This outstanding woman is not only a wife, but also has been a hard working nurse for the past 6 years.

Her career as a nurse started in the Adama Rift Valley University where she obtained her nursing degree with top honours. She was quickly hired by the Gynaecological/ NICU department in the Assosa General Hospital where she devotedly spent long hours helping all women from all ethnic and religious groups with issues related to women’s’ health. Some of this issues dealt with, pelvic inflammatory disease, urinary track infections, and ultra vaginal prolapse.

Yadeshe would also perform a variety of screenings and diagnostic tests on women. While a significant part of her work as an OB-GYN nurse revolved around pregnancy and childbirth, she would also work with women going through reproductive cancers and hormone disorders. Because of her excellent communication skills and ability to work in an interdisciplinary team with doctors, midwives, urologists and other specialists, she was able to support and aid women through child birth. For Yadeshe, “being part of this very special moment in a woman’s life, welcoming in the next generation was not only a job but a privilege.” 

Moreover, there was a great deal of heath teaching involved in this role which provided women with the necessary information to make informed choices about their own health. This type of empowerment provided women with the tools to make their own choices and take control of their own lives when for many, it wasn’t possible before coming to the hospital and meeting with Yadeshe. Her kindness and empathetic nature, in addition to her nursing knowledge, skills and impeccable judgement, transformed lives and empowered women during this most precarious time in their lives.

From this experience, Yadeshe obtained further education as a Neonate Specialist.  She quickly secured a nursing position in the NICU at the hospital. This role demanded that she be vigilantly aware of the needs of new-borns and the risks involved in their special care while using incubators that were donated by the Pharo Foundation and UNIFEF. In NICU, states Yadeshe, “every moment in a new-born’s life is critical and demands a nurses full attention.” Being conscious of sudden changes in a baby’s health status is a very demanding and challenging role for a nurse because one has to be very aware of the what these changes look like and how to respond with immediate care in order to saves lives. Again, by applying her knowledge, skills and judgement to this special unit, Yadeshe was able to save lives and make a positive difference in the lives of both mother and baby.

During her time in NIUC, Yadeshe was asked by UNICEF Ethiopia to participate in a video highlighting how nurses care for new-borns by monitoring vitals such as O2 stat.s, heart rate, blood pressure, weight gain and so on. Moreover, her role working with new mothers continued by providing health care teaching in regards to such issues as breast feeding attachment, the importance of vaccinations (and their time-line for administration), and mother/baby bonding through skin-to-skin contact (Kangaroo Care), all the while providing psychological support as well. When asked what the best part of her job was, she quickly responds, “seeing new-borns survive despite desperate conditions, proving compassionate care to mothers and their babies, and working as a team with other health care professionals.”

Because of her impeccable attention to detail and outstanding leadership qualities, Yadeshe was offered the Head Nurse position on the surgical ward at the Assosa General hospital. This is where I met Yadeshe for the first time and was instantly drawn into her passion for providing the best health care possible with limited supplies and lack of water on the unit. In a matter of weeks, she has transformed this unit by installing a working and stocked pharmacy so that patients and their families have access to affordable medicine without having to leave the ward. Moreover, she has implemented the “Clean and Safe Hospital” (CASH) initiative, created by one of the Health Advisor Cuso International volunteers. Our ward now has accessible garbage receptacles, our files and patient medicine boxes are organized, cleaned and have clear labels to avoid medical errors, the medical supply room is stocked and structured in systematic manner, and once a week, Yadeshe and our team of nurses and student nurses go outside the ward to collect garbage from the surrounding area. This has made a tremendous impact on patient care. Her leadership style is inclusive and consequently makes working on this unit a team collaborative. The results are remarkable; better patient care and faster healing time for patients who are often in  critical condition.

She is a role model to nurses and doctors alike; she leads by example, working all hours and encouraging a reflective nursing practice by having weekly team meets to discuss patient care and how we, as a team, can improve on our methodology of nursing.  Her fervour for making sustainable change inspires us all to do our best and be our best.

When asked about her future goals as a nurse, she expresses her desire to continue working with women in the health care setting and giving them tools to make their own choices in regards to their health and well-being. “Empowerment through knowledge and awareness is the key.” If given the chance, she would like to return to university to read for her Master’s degree in Nursing with a specialization in neonates and nutrition. With her abilities to lead and her drive for empowering women from all walks of Ethiopian life, working for the Ethiopian Ministry of Heath would not be out of the question.

The time is Now: This Ethiopian nurse, living in a rural area, is transforming women's lives in a positive and meaningful way that is not only changing women’s lives, but saving lives in the process.




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