Meet Abibatu Bangura, a proud new Surgical Training Program (STP) student.
“I want to follow the Surgical Training Program to save the lives of pregnant women and new born babies of Sierra Leone.”
Abibatu was born and raised in Freetown. As a child, she admired the community nurse greatly. The nurse would visit the community in her neat uniform, and since that time Abibatu has wanted to work as a health care professional herself. Once she completed her schooling, she became a State Enrolled Community Health Nurse (SECHN). She continued her studies and became a State Registered Nurse (SRN). She worked as a nurse for over 10 years. Abibatu especially enjoyed the maternity care, so she became a State Certified Midwife at Princess Christina Maternity Hospital in Freetown. After that she worked in the maternity unit at Makeni Government Hospital for another 5 years. Here she had both good and bad experiences: the joy of being able to help women deliver their babies, but also the pain of losing patients. Abibatu recognized these losses as being due to delay in necessary interventions. It was at this time that she first came in contact with the CapaCare program: STP students were posted at the Makeni Government Hospital, and she was very impressed by the work they were doing – “Whenever you call upon them, they are there.”
This positive experience with STP students made Abibatu want to further improve herself in any way possible to be able to save more lives. She applied for the School of Clinical Sciences in Makeni to further her clinical knowledge. After completing the two foundational years at the school she was able to apply for the CapaCare program. After successfully completing the recruitment assessments she was accepted. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the scheduled start of the CapaCare program in March was postponed until September. Since that time Abibatu has been working in the wards at Masanga Hospital and followed the training in the Operation Theatres.
So what motivates Abibatu to keep on challenging herself, even to the point that she has now started the Surgical Training Program?
“My main motivation is the maternity care. I really enjoyed the work as a midwife, but I love going the OT mostly.”
She mentions that with this training, she will be able to provide the surgical interventions necessary for women with ectopic pregnancy for example.
The fact that Abibatu is one of the few female STP’s, is no problem for her. “We work as a team. They are very fond of me.”
However, being a STP and a mother of two children at the same time is sometimes difficult.
“I miss them, but I am happy to be here. My children understand the importance of what I’m doing here.”
Abibatu concludes with a message for all the people who make CapaCare possible:
“I want to say thanks to all the members of CapaCare. I am very proud of the STP program. We all appreciate the program how it empowers our nation. Keep training more midwives, nurses, CHO’s and doctors!”