Trip to Essau Health Centre

Sep 15 2009

On September 15th I have started my visit in the Essau Health Centre, where I have met the health centre management team headed by Mr. Sutaring Drammeh, a senior midwife nurse in the the centre. I have made an appointment prior to the visit with the support of the focal person Jumma Jallow.

The Community Health Nurses (CHN) in that area who are answerable to the said centre were all informed that I was coming there and their presence is very important. I need to meet them and discussed about VVF in The Gambia and the package Shelter Gambia has for these patients. One of my main targets is to see the Traditional Birth Attendance (TBA).

These are local birth attendance in the rural communities who normally help pregnant women to deliver without reaching the health centre / hospital. This is done traditionally and the knowledge is passed on from one generation to the next. These TBAs are supervised by CHNs in their respective communities. I believe that it is necessary to communicate and engage these TBA´s in order to establish a strong working relationship in my sensitization program. This move will help Shelter Gambia in reaching the girls and women who are suffering from VVF at the grass-root level.

The senior midwife and his team were very receptive and happy about the ideas of Shelter Gambia, particularly the two and a half months rehabilitation package. I have also pointed out that one of the preventive programs is proper community sensitization, which is to educate the TBAs and the community at large about the causes of VVF, it´s consequences, and how to prevent it. This will no doubt also help in getting hidden cases in these communities we are sensitizing.

We all agree that curing VVF is important but prevention is the best. Since VVF is very hidden because of stigmatization, the need for proper community sensitization is paramount.