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Good News Story From ‘Chan NICab’

lab-staff-thumbnailSt. Francis Hospital, Okpara -Inland, Delta State, Nigeria is one of the various hospitals that have benefited from the CHAN NICaB projects.  The hospital’s Administrator, Sr. Patricia Somers RSC, says it is good news that has brought funding to St Francis hospital as a result of the CHAN NICaB Project.

For Sr. Patricia, the hospital’s Laboratory and the Staff have benefited from the CHAN NICaB Project fund.  During the first phase of this Project, the physical structure of St Francis hospital has been greatly improved - floors tiled, work benches replaced, sliding windows in place of louvers, etc. Also, air conditioners have been installed to meet requirements. A separate funding was obtained to reroof the lab and thereby clear it of rats. These rodents with disease carrying potential have invaded one of the machines, not only in St. Francis hospital but also in a nearby facility with an identical machine funded by another NGO. The photo below shows the Reflotron Machine, CD4 Count Machine, and the QBC Machine. St. Francis Laboratory was assessed by the National Quality Assurance Programme in June 2010 for HIV screening and was deemed by the Medical Laboratory Science of Nigeria to be satisfactory. The enhanced working environment has attracted well qualified staff and very recently the Laboratory was approved for student placement for the School of Health Technology in Delta State, Nigeria. These students are studying to become Hospital Laboratory Technicians. The success story of this department extends to the wider community of Okpara as the number and variety of Laboratory tests which are now available to all patients has greatly increased.  Also, a number of staff have benefited from the various educational opportunities provided by CHAN NICaB at different venues throughout Nigeria. The knowledge and skills obtained have been used for step down training to other staff members. In St Francis hospital, clients are welcomed and treated professionally by staff.  In some circles in Nigeria, the ‘stigmatization’ of persons living with HIV/AIDS is a well known fact. Thankfully, the ethos in St Francis hospital is different. One good event that happened recently highlights the fact that no one on the staff has an attitude of ‘stigmatization’.   A few months ago, a woman was admitted in an active phase of labour. It was her first pregnancy. She was an unbooked patient to the hospital. She had been laboring for many hours in a Traditional Birth Attendant’s situation and labour was not progressing. She was medically assessed and had an obstetric scan performed. She was assessed as thirty six weeks gestation with a fetal weight of 2.8kg. As labour failed to progress normally due to cervical dystocia, she and her husband were told that Caesarean Section would be necessary. There was evidence of fetal tachycardia which indicated that urgent surgery was needed. Routine pre-operative tests revealed that the woman was HIV positive. She acknowledged that she already knew her status. She was a teacher and thereby had a good understanding of the implications-yet she had chosen to go to a Traditional Birth Attendant for delivery. Thankfully, the staff on duty that afternoon - Doctor, Midwives, Nurses and Laboratory technician all performed their various tasks professionally and great joy was expressed by her family when she safely delivered by Caesarean Section a baby girl who in fact weighed 3.3kg. Both mother and baby commenced on appropriate medication and they both made an uneventful recovery. As the Administrator of the hospital, Sr Patricia felt very happy that her staff showed such respect to a woman who knew her HIV status but chose to attend a TBA until her labour became abnormal.  Thankfully, she and her baby were placed on immediate prophylactic treatment, and they benefitted from the well educated staff who because they have the knowledge and understanding of HIV/AIDS have put all precautions in place in the management of their patients. They had no reservations regarding their management of this situation.  We are grateful to the CHAN NICaB who provided the education and training needed for improved staff proficiency.