New Gretta Scholars 2015/2016
Many scholars are direct entry (new students in nursing or midwifery), while others are working (with a certificate level -2 year program) nurses and midwives. The certificate level nurses and midwives aspire to scale-up to diploma level to vastly increase their competencies and skills. Supporting existing certificate level to become diploma level will not only save countless lives but provide professional development opportunities to experienced nurses and midwives who often leave their profession without such opportunities. During our visit at the Uganda Catholic Medical Bureau their Executive Secretary, Dr. Orach, encouraged us to help save more lives of her fellow citizens by increasing the number of scholarships to “scale up” more nurses and midwives in their hospitals.
Here are the stories of our other nine Gretta Scholars. All names are fictitious to respect privacy.
- Alice is 22 years old and the second born of six children from Chalumba Village in Eastern Uganda. Her parents are poor subsistence farmers. “I want to become a nurse because I want to save the lives of others. I’d like to give consolation to those in pain. I also want to improve the health status of my community.”
- Flora is 25 years old and a working enrolled nurse (two year certificate). She earns about 360,000 UGX each month (equivalent to $100) and she is the bread winner of her big family as her father died in 2007 and her mom is HIV positive and has limited energy to work. What money her mother does earn, she uses to sustain her life by buying supplements required while on HIV-therapy. Flora wants to scale up to a diploma in nursing to also better support her mother and siblings. “From the time I learned that my mother was sick, I started to pick an interest in nursing.”
- Immaculate is 25 years old and the seventh born of 14 children. Her parents are subsistence farmers selling commodities at the local market. Her brother’s first born died in childbirth, and from that moment, Immaculate has wanted to become a midwife and help mothers and their newborns. She has been working as a certified midwife at a health center in Hoima. “[My brother’s son] his umbilical cord was not tied properly and his baby bleed to death. This kept haunting me and I decided to pursue midwifery to save babies.”
- Wanda is the fourth born of eight children and from remote Kisoro next to the Rwandan border. Her father, an abusive alcoholic, had abandoned her mother and siblings and has a second wife and family with whom he lives. Her mother has been forced to provide for her eight children. Due to her exceptional school performance, Wanda received a scholarship to attend high school. Her hometown suffered greatly from poverty especially during the influx of refugees from Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Interest to become a nurse came when two relatives died from injuries incurred in a mudslide and any nursing care was very far away. “My dream of becoming a nurse is a reality. I promise that given the opportunity, I am ready to help my community and people anywhere.”
- Seth is 22 years old and fourth born of seven children from remote Kisoro. His parents are subsistence farmers and with the mass influx of refugees from Rwanda and DRC, and landslides, harvesting has been hard and his parents have struggled to pay for fees. He is the only sibling to make it through secondary school. “Accessing healthcare is very difficult due to terraces (mountains) in my locality… so many patients die on the way. Observing all these challenges I decided to become a nurse and help suffering people in my place.”
- Gerry is 21 years old and sixth born of seven from remote Kisoro. Due to financial aid, Gerry was the only one of his family to make it through secondary school. His father is a peasant farmer and his mother begs to help support the family. Farming has been challenging over the years due to mass influxes of refugees from Rwanda and the DRC and landslides. His father has also been battling cancer for four years. Gerry wanted to be a nurse from age eight when he witnessed a woman die in childbirth when the villagers couldn’t get her to medical care in time. “I have always felt touched and think of joining nursing profession to contribute on saving people’s lives including my father who has cancer.”
- Evan is the youngest born of five and is is from the remote northern region of Karamoja. He is the only child not to leave during secondary school. A nun of the Sisters of Mary Kakamega provided his fees while he worked in their gardens in the evening. He works in a hospital in Northern Uganda and now is scaling up to a diploma in nursing. “In Karamoja, getting healthcare services takes miles for one to reach the health facility and being treated by trained personnel is a nightmare. So this prompted me to pursue a dream of becoming a nurse.”
- Denise is 24 years old and the first born of five. Her father got very ill in 2006 and couldn’t support their family. Her family depends on subsistence farming. He died in 2012. Denise became the primary breadwinner for her family as a certified nurse and looks to scale-up to a diploma in nursing. “I started developing an interest in nursing after observing my [parents] using herbs to treat themselves and my siblings…I couldn’t conclude whether we were given herbs because they could treat us or out of poverty. Therefore, such experience…has made me aspire to study nursing.”
- Janice in Gulu. Information forthcoming.