The role of nurses and midwives in delivering vaccines in low resource settings and the power of storytelling to sustain their voices
This blog was written by Immunisation Advocacy Champion, Rose Nakame.
I remember when March 1st 2021 was approaching. I was anxious and feeling expectant of this beautiful day not knowing how it would go because it was both my birthday but a day when we were to launch our first online fundraiser together with our team at REMI East Africa.
We went ahead to launch my birthday fundraiser in order to raise money to further our storytelling work. The funds were raised from 17 generous donors who joined me to recognise the day that God put me on this earth.
In addition, we utilised funds from the prize availed by the Nursing Now Challenge and Sabin Vaccine Institute to train and record videos from seven student nurses, registered nurses, and midwives about storytelling for vaccine equity.
We had to travel to Hoima district in Western Uganda to conduct the training and record videos of the nurses and midwives at Hoima Regional Referral hospital (Hoima RRH). The nurses and midwives were so enthusiastic about the whole experience. First, they were happy about the African fabric reusable masks that we gave each of them. Second, they were very engaged during the storytelling training, and later, they warmly welcomed the opportunity to record their videos.
The student nurses explained that the vaccination rollout was helping them to understand why people come for the vaccine, for example, the fear of being denied access to some public facilities, and the other co-morbidities they present with.
You can watch the interview with the student nurses here.
Emily, one of the staff nurses, highlighted the challenges faced regarding timely delivery of vaccines and few human resources to deliver the vaccine to people. She also noted the successes such as the increased number of people who return for the second dose of the vaccine. This success was attributed to the stickers that were being placed at the back of the immunisation card containing the side effects of the vaccine which eases the client’s ability to notice and report them.
You can watch the interview with Emily here.
Another story that we recorded was from Atuhura Jackline, a midwife who believes that there is a need for more partner engagement for vaccine equity to be realised.
Watch the interview here.
Our last interview was with Patience Bonabona who highlighted other support activities such as community outreach at churches and radio talk shows to educate the masses and openly discuss the myths and misconceptions surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine.
Click here to watch her interview.
We now look forward to collaboratively examining vaccine equity among the disabled, marginalised, vulnerable and refugee communities. It’s imperative that we ensure vaccine equity among the vulnerable and hard-to-reach communities in order to reduce the vaccine desert.