HRH DUCHESS OF CAMBRIDGE AND HRH COUNTESS OF WESSEX VIDEO CALL NURSES AT FREEDOM FROM FISTULA PROJECT IN SIERRA LEONE TO CELEBRATE INTERNATIONAL NURSES DAY
Four nurses from Freedom From Fistula’s Aberdeen Women’s Centre (AWC) in Sierra Leone, were delighted to participate in a video call with Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge and Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex to celebrate International Nurses Day.
The video call was hosted by Nursing Now, a global campaign to improve health by raising the status and profile of nursing. Nursing Now is a programme of the Burdett Trust for Nursing run in collaboration with the World Health Organization and the International Council of Nurses, with support from their Patron Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge.
To view the video call please Click here> (AWC features after 3 minutes)
The video call was to commemorate International Nurses' Day that is celebrated around the world each year on 12 May, the anniversary of Florence Nightingale's birth. International Nurses' Day provides an opportunity to mark the contribution of nursing staff and reflect on the vital work they do every day. With 2020 being International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, and the 200th anniversary of Nightingale's birth, this year is a very important celebration. Around the world, citizens have been asked to “shine a light” from the windows of their homes at 20:30 to mark the special day.
Speaking on the call, HRH The Countess of Wessex said, “It was such a wonderful visit (to Aberdeen Women’s Centre in January). It’s never left me, and it never will. What you do at the Aberdeen Women’s Centre is so very special. I just wish there were more of them in Sierra Leone.”
Nursing staff at AWC make up 60% of the total staff and work across our maternity, fistula, family planning and child health services. It was a privilege for them to be included in this very special global conversation to celebrate International Nurses Day.
Among the areas discussed in the videocall was how the experience of running the AWC throughout the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone helped the team prepare well for COVID-19, including imposing in early March strict IPC measures and screening of patients.
Women and girls disproportionately suffer in health crises and both Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge and Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex emphasised the importance of the work of AWC to provide free healthcare treatment to women and girls. The broad range of services provided at AWC was applauded, especially the focus on psychosocial care, education, skills training, economic empowerment, as well as treating the patient medically.
During the call, Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex chatted to nurses whom she met in her visit to AWC in January 2020. Among them was Fistula Supervisor Anita Kamara who spoke at length to The Countess of Wessex in January about fistula and rape victims and translated for an adult survivor of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) that the Countess met with.
The call finished with HRH The Duchess of Cambridge saying, “I’d love to come and visit at some point and see the families that you work with. Thank you for all the hard work you do on a day to day basis providing expert care to those in need. Happy nurses day to you all!”
Speaking after the call, AWC Fistula Supervisor Anita Kamara said: “Having the future Queen and the Countess speak to us today was really special. For them to take time out of their day to call us was great.
“They asked lots of questions about how we were doing and it felt like a chat with colleagues. It was nice to speak to the Countess again and update her on the patients she met in January.”
Margaret Bangura, AWC Outpatient Children’s Clinic Deputy Supervisor said: “For me, it was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I feel blessed”.
Dame Ann Gloag, founder of Freedom From Fistula said, “It is wonderful that, on the 12th anniversary of Freedom From Fistula, our nurses were recognised on this special day by Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge and Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex.
“As a former nurse, I am acutely aware of the vital role nurses play in providing high quality care to patients and it is right they are recognised for their contribution around the world, especially during this COVID-19 pandemic.
“We now see more than 30,000 patients a year at the AWC and the nurses are vital part of the team that ensures we deliver the highest quality of care to our patients.
“Our success in growing the AWC services over the last 12 years is down to the dedication and commitment of all the staff and I thank the nurses, past and present, for their contribution.”
The Aberdeen Women’s Centre (AWC) is a hospital providing a broad variety of free services to the women and children of Sierra Leone. This includes fistula care, maternity care, child healthcare, adolescent education and empowerment and family planning services, as well as support for child rape victims. AWC’s mission is “to provide high quality, holistic care and treatment free of charge to our patients and clients”.