Interview with Kenyan Nurse

This time something different than a traveldiary. Today I did an interview.

The lady left on the photo is Maya Koki Tabu. I've worked with her on the maternityward of Coptic Hospital for the past two weeks.
Maya is 24 years of age. This makes her almost the same age as me, because I'm 23!

Who is Maya?

As told above Maya is a lady of 24 years. She lives on her own in Nairobi. She is married since last year and she has a baby of nine months. She has three siblings. Two sisters, who are twins and a younger brother of 20 years. Her mother is still alive. She also lives in Nairobi. Her father past away 20 years ago, shortly after her brother was born. From that moment on her mother had to take care of her familiy on her own. Maya was the oldest of all the siblings, so inevitably a lot of the chores had to be done by Maya. She needed to help her mother raise her younger siblings. Sometimes Maya's mom stayed away during the day and the night, just to earn enough money for her and her children. This is also the reason Maya was able to participate in nursingschool. Maya's mom got a new boyfriend when Maya was 10 years, the man became her new stepdad. Maya told me her stepdad is an alcoholic and he used to hit her. Untill now he still drinks a lot of alcohol. This is the reason that Maya, at the age of eightteen, left her mother after High School. She started nursing school and finished it when she was 21 years.

Maya told me that nursing education takes about 3,5 years here in Kenya. If you want to aim for a bachelor degree, you have to study an additional 2,5 year. She works as a nurse for over three years now, of which 2,5 years she works here on the maternity ward of Coptic Hospital.

Funny fact! She delivered on the department she works. She choose to deliver here on purpose. The enviroment feels secure. She knows the nurses and knows what she can expect. Next to that, the hospital pays for the costs she makes while she is admitted. In here case an extra bonus.

Why did Maya choose to become a nurse?

Maya told me that she loves to work on the maternity ward. She choose to become a nurse, because as a nurse she can really mean something for the community. She tells me that is feels like a calling. 'God wants you to doe something good in your live as a mortal and I really felt attracted to this profession.' Being a nurse you have to be patient, loving, caring, quick and careful. These are words she can refer to as a person and to be honest I can refer to her as well reading these words. When I see Maya working, I see a hardworking, caring nurse with a passion for her profession. Other nurses told me they are very satisfied with the care she delivers. In Maya's family no one else chose to work as a nurse, this makes her unique.

What is the hardest part of being a nurse?

The nursing profession brings, unfortunatly, also in Kenia trouble. There are a few situations that Maya experiences as difficult. For example, a mother who is giving birth, is completely exhausted. This causes her to not participate. Maya tells me that in these situations she feels like she takes away the entire experience of delivering a baby. In these situations she needs to stand on a chair and push the baby out of the mother, litteraly! They call it 'fundal pressure'. A really nasty experience for the mother, but Maya tells me: 'For me as a nurse this is also a heavy experience, in case of giving fundal pressure you need use a lot of force.'

A different situation Maya experiences as emotional, is when she is busy for hours with a mother in labour. Than when the baby is born, the baby gives no signs of being alive. A score system they use in the hospital is APGAR. With this score you can score the color of the skin, the expression of the face and the awakeness of the baby. When this score is really low, it can happen that a baby needs to get extra oxygen and be stimulated in crying and breathing. In the worst case scenario a baby needs to be resassitated.

Maya tells me that this is the worst thing that can happen in her opinion. When a mother carries a child in her belly for 9 long months, you just can't imagine that it's dead with delivery. Maya told me she recently experienced this. When I ask her about this moment, tears start filling her eyes. I decided to stop the interview.

In closure, Maya tells me she can recommend this profession to everyone. There is a lot to experience and every day is different. When I hear her stories and compare them, I can really imagine this. The nursing profession here is so different from the Netherlands. They are trying their best and I know for sure, that they will be able to improve their health care massive if they keep doing what they are doing!

What do you think of your country health care system, what is special in your profession and what is your reason to keep performing your profession?

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Mooi geschreven. Leuk om te

Mooi geschreven. Leuk om te lezen hoe ze in dit soort landen omgaan met bevallingen die niet soepel lopen. Bijzonder hoor!

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