Nursing student Nimo Abdi is in her third year of training at the Hargeisa Institute of Health Science, Somaliland. As part of the Health Consortium for Somalia Program (HCS), a six-year DFID funded project, Nimo has been undertaken Community Outreach Training Programmes which are providing health workers with improved skills practice.
Community outreach gave Nimo Abdi the ability to critically address situations with very limited resources. She gained in confidence after carrying out safe clinical decisions and treatments. Through working in many different clinical settings, from hospitals to rural villages, she has found that she now has the skills and experience to carry out her work with very limited medical equipment and without the support of trained colleagues.
Nimo was touched by the stories of the villagers she helped. Particularly humbled when assessing women who came to her for help, she learned of the immense value her schooling and nursing knowledge gives her.
“I learned that I could really provide help with the training I had received. Community outreach made me understand the importance of primary healthcare so I could teach people how to stay healthy and give those tips so they could seek help immediately when needed. I was also able to provide health education on subjects from nutrition, to how women can lead a healthy life-style through child spacing, prenatal and post-natal.
For example, during the community health event we invited many young women so that we could talk to them about child vaccination and how it benefits both the child and the community as a whole. We also encourage women, who are often too far away or wary of visiting health centers, to seek help and go to health centers not at the last stage of the illness but whenever they felt unwell.
During outreach events, I really learned that the theory I had learnt in the classroom and my nursing practice could help not only in a hospital setting but also from homes to villages, and from neighbors to whole communities. I could make positive health habit changes through education and raising awareness.
Community outreach programmes are so rewarding because you are working with people who are most in need as well as helping me to increase my knowledge, experiences and skills.”