ROTOM Blog

The Importance of Field Nurses

Satveer Dhillon – September 2020
Olivia, the field nurse at ROTOM, completing health promotion workshops through the ROTOM Health Centre. In this picture, COVID-19 had hit East Africa and Olivia was reiterating the importance of washing one’s hands properly.

“They may have chronic typhoid and they keep coming back to the Health Centre to receive more medication. You go to their house and realize they don’t have access to clean drinking water or healthy food which is worsening their health. By going to their home, you will be able to better understand how to help them,” says Olivia Ssesanga, the field nurse at ROTOM-Uganda. Visiting the seniors’ homes to better understand how to improve their health and quality of life, is just one of the many responsibilities Olivia completes. As the only field nurse at ROTOM-Uganda, her days are busy with training, devotion and visiting the seniors. She organizes and participates in community medical outreaches, conducts home visits and provides treatments to the seniors. Moreover, during the fellowships she provides health information and supports field officers to ensure there are good nutritional and home hygiene practices amongst the seniors.

Olivia treating a senior at the senior’s home. The senior pictured is sponsored by ROTOM Canada donors.

COVID-19 has caused unprecedented changes to ROTOM-Uganda. Olivia expresses, “Previously seniors used to come to health care facility, but due to COVID and since March all of the transportation methods have been cut off, so they had no access. The seniors had no access to health care facility, so we had to reach out to them in the community to make sure they are receiving health care.” To adjust to these changes, ROTOM has utilized their community medical outreach model. The community medical outreach model was developed in mid-2019. It was recognized that health promotion in the seniors’ homes is more effective as it is better to focus on the specific needs of each senior. During COVID, this model allows seniors to be able to access health care from the comfort of their home by allowing community volunteers to utilize technology to set up virtual consultations and keep the medical staff updated on the health of the seniors.

There is a significant need to find sustainable support for the field nurse. As discussed previously, the field nurse has many responsibilities such as training volunteers from the community, making regular home visits even during COVID-19 and conducting health education training amongst the seniors. As the salary of the field nurse is provided through donations, continuous donations are needed to keep this position ongoing and to possibly hire another field nurse as this is a long-term commitment to continue to support our seniors.  To donate please visit: click here and under “APPLY YOUR DONATION TO A SPECIFIC FUND SET UP BY THIS CHARITY”, select 6.Health Centre.

During the months of April-June 2020, Olivia made over 170 visits to seniors’ homes and refilled seniors’ medicines over 1,300 times.

Thank you to Olivia Ssesanga and Justine Nagawa from ROTOM Uganda for participating in an interview with ROTOM Canada.