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She stayed behind as other interns fled COVID-19 wards

By Andrew Masinde

Added 7th May 2020 03:45 PM

Nuwasiima says at first, she was scared after hearing that the virus was claiming medical workers in other countries. However, in line with the medical workers’ motto — Love and serve — she asked herself: “Who would help the patients if everyone ran away?”

She stayed behind as other interns fled COVID-19 wards

A jovial Nuwasiima ready for work at Entebbe Grade B Hospital

Nuwasiima says at first, she was scared after hearing that the virus was claiming medical workers in other countries. However, in line with the medical workers’ motto — Love and serve — she asked herself: “Who would help the patients if everyone ran away?”

COURAGEOUS | HEROS AT FRONTLINE | COVID-19
 
When the first COVID-19 case was confirmed in Uganda, several health workers, including intern doctors, declined to work in the ward for the patients. However, this was not the case for 26-year-old Annitah Nuwasiima, an intern nurse at Entebbe Grade B Hospital, the main centre for handling COVID-19 cases.
 
When interns were requested to volunteer, many declined while others ran away.
 
Determined to serve humanity, Nuwasiima volunteered and was assigned to work in the COVID-19 patients' ward.
 
Nuwasiima says at first, she was scared after hearing that the virus was claiming medical workers in other countries. However, in line with the medical workers' motto — Love and serve — she asked herself: "Who would help the patients if everyone ran away?"
 
This encouraged her to push on.
"Good enough, we had been trained to handle suspected cases while ensuring our safety. They also gave us protective gear in time, trained us to use it and mentally prepared us to cope with the situation.
 
"Since then, I have never regretted serving on the COVID-19 frontline," Nuwasiima says.
 
In the ward, Nuwasiima follows all the safety measures put in place and the advice of her supervisors.
 
In the wards, she is in charge of monitoring the patients, counselling and giving them hope.
 
Nuwasiima's supervisor, Agnes Babirye, says she is dedicated to her work.
 
Babirye says when the first COVID-19 case was confirmed, many interns shied away, but Nuwasiima volunteered to take care of the patients.
 
"She quickly responded to the call for volunteers. I see a bright future ahead of her if she carries on with her good attitude to work," she says.
 
Nuwasiima is always trying out different tasks, an attribute that every person in the medical field should have.
 
"She is always ready to handle anything that comes her way and in so doing, she easily adapts to any situation.
 uwasiima preparing to go to the 19 ward Nuwasiima preparing to go to the COVID-19 ward

 

"Because of her commitment and hard work, her supervisors would highly recommend her if she applied for any job," Babirye says.
 
Richard Natuhwera, a doctor who works with Nuwasiima, says she is skilled, dedicated, flexible and ready to learn.
 
"Such people are very hard to get these days," he says.
 
Natuhwera adds that it takes courage for an intern to offer themselves to be at the forefront of handling such a deadly pandemic.
 
John Mulinda, another doctor who works with Nuwasiima, says she is a good time manager and always ensures she completes her work.
 
"When she completes her tasks, she helps others, a character that is rare these days," Mulinda says. He adds that she is always sharing knowledge with others and yearning to learn new things.
 
MOTIVATION
Nuwasiima says she chose to study nursing because people in her community did not have access to medical services.
So, she wanted to become a nurse so that she helps her community to access medical services.
 
FAMILY SUPPORT
Nuwasiima is grateful for the support that her family gives her.
She says her parents always call her to encourage and pray for her.
 
"When I called my family to give them the news of working on the COVID-19 frontline, they were not surprised.
Instead, they asked me to be careful, something that encouraged me," Nuwasiima reveals.
 
ADVICE
Nuwasiima advises health workers to always take up any medical challenge that come their way.
 
"Pandemics will always be there. If medics want to treat only simple diseases, then who will handle the difficult ones? We should always be self-motivated and put humanity first. We should also think of why we chose this profession before we run away from situations where we are needed the most," she says.
 
FACTFILE
 
She was born in Kyamugunga, Bushenyi district.
 
Nuwasiima went to Ishaka Adventist Hospital Primary School, and thereafter joined Ishaka Adventist College for O'level.
 
She joined Plus Two High School Bushenyi for A'level and joined Bishop Stuart University in Mbarara for a bachelor's degree in nursing sciences.
 
When she completed university, she got an internship placement at Entebbe Grade B Hospital.

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