TOUCHING STORY: HOW KAMULI SENIOR MIDWIFE FLAVIA NAMBI SUCCUMBED TO POST-PARTUM HAEMORRHAGE A CONDITION FROM WHICH SHE HAD SAVED MANY MOTHERS

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BY DR. AGGREY M. P. BATESAAKI
DISTRICT HEALTH OFFICER, KAMULI

ON Thursday morning, at about 10.00am, I learnt, with profound shock, of the death of one of the gallant daughters of Kamuli District, our staff Ms. Flavia Nambi an Enrolled Midwife and In-Charge of Kagumba Health Centre II.

I thank God that he gave me the courage to listen and comprehend the circumstances under which this great staff succumbed to Post-Partum Haemorrhage (PPH) at a private health facility, Premier Medical Centre, run and managed by one of our most skilled Senior Medical Officers, Dr. Fred Duku.

Life is really an irony; Flavia has lost the battle to PPH, one of the conditions whose management she had excelled in. She saved many mothers and their babies whose lives were on the line because of similar conditions; for she has been a time-tested, experienced and a dedicated midwife.  She saved many while working at Nankandulo HC IV and, just before her demise, in Kagumba HC II.

It is ironical, indeed, for Flavia used her skills as an armour to shield other women from death due to similar conditions; but she died with that shield (skills) in her hands and her brain-she couldn’t use them to salvage her own life. Irony…….irony……irony; life is, indeed, an irony and a mystery!!!!!

As I drove out of our trading centre this morning, I was stopped by two people from Nankandulo/Kisozi community in Buwenge; expressing their shock at the bad news of the death of their simple, approachable and dedicated Muzaalisa.

The Late was a very confident Midwife who loved to take on new challenges. About one year ago, she walked into the DHO’s office and greeted me with an infectious smile. After exchanging warm pleasantries, she told me she had come to ask me to make her the in-charge of Kagumba HC II, since the then in-charge was proceeding on study leave. She went on to tell me how she was hungry for new challenging roles aside from only being a midwife. By the time Flavia completed her presentation, she had already succeeded in convincing me that the young lady before me was several marks higher than a good number of the young midwives I had interfaced with in my role as DHO.

To further confirm my deduction about her, I encountered an uphill task convincing her then in-charge and supervisor at Nankandulo HC IV, Dr. Susan Kizaala and Sr. Prossy Kalembe Magimbi respectively, to release her to become in-charge of Kagumba HC II. They both reasoned that letting her go would somehow incapacitate the performance of their unit; because Flavia, according to them, was a very strong pillar in the ANC/maternity ward.

When we finally convinced them to release her, she, in a very short period proved to the office of the DHO that she was, indeed, up to the task. She proved to be a very promising health manager who positively surprised me with her unique performance at a role (in-charge) she had never played before. She has, in fact, been one of our best performing in-charges in the district.

She didn’t exploit the challenges of working in one of the remotest areas in our district to present fake excuses for under performance, as would have been the case with a number of our health workers who look for any slightest limitation to dodge work, report late,leave early and present to us, their supervisors, a litany of excuses and demands.

My most recent and memorable encounter with this great musawo was late March this year when she expressed her willingness to voluntarily join the team of frontline health workers against COVID-19. It took me a good number of minutes and efforts to convince her to abandon the idea, arguing with her that it was not good to join that frontline when pregnant and an in-charge of a facility who was required to be her facility to ensure that the community there get the required services during this lockdown.

Kamuli District has lost a rare Muzaalisa; a musawo in the true sense of the word. The health fraternity is mourning an icon; a young, beautiful and educated lady who showed others that it was possible to have an embodiment of all these attributes and yet remain humble and dedicated to your work, but also manage a family and a marriage; a rare streak among our female health workers.

It is with a heavy heart that I say good bye to one of the dedicated, determined and courageous midwives of our time.

My prayers are with her young children and her entire close family members. May The good Lord comfort them all in this trying moment.

Fare Thee Well Gallant Daughter of Kamuli.

This eulogy will be incomplete if I don’t address myself to the following issues which have been raised to me by a number of concerned people:-

Why did she go to a private facility and not to Kamuli General Hospital?

One of the reasons is that she was convinced in her heart of hearts that she would get the best care at this particular facility. She had confidence in the Senior doctor there. 

I vividly remember when, around December last year, she raised the concerns of the mothers whom she had been referring to Kamuli General Hospital and they refuse to go there. 

Those who went there have been telling her of their unpleasant experiences from that Mulago of ours; ranging from the rude character of the staff to sheer negligence of the mothers by our staff.

Recently, when one of our health workers, Mr. Patrick Baghumaghe (Enrolled Nurse), lost his wife at this same hospital under unclear and unpleasant circumstances, Flavia was among the many concerned health workers who called me to express their concern about the way mothers were being handled at this hospital. 

She sarcastically asked me about the whereabouts of the substantive doctors that particular night when a wife of one of our own was left to be managed by an arrogant so-called internee?!!!!

Lesson:

As health workers, we must change our ways and start to love our jobs and respect our profession.

Rest In Eternal Peace, Woman of Valour, my friend, Flavia, MS Kagumba, as I have always referred to you, a statement that has always augumented your natural smile.

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