Sanela is connecting a Roma family with the local community

One home-visit nurse from Podgorica is acquiring skills for working with vulnerable groups, thanks to UNICEF training

Milica Bogdanović
One home-visit nurse from Podgorica is acquiring skills for working with vulnerable groups, thanks to UNICEF training
UNICEF Montenegro / Duško Miljanić / 2021
12 July 2021

PODGORICA, 12. July 2021. - Sanela Rastoder has been a home-visit nurse at the Primary Healthcare Centre in Podgorica for 16 years. Her job is to take care of pregnant women, mothers and their babies. Thanks to the training and professional support provided by the Primary Healthcare Centre in Podgorica, with the support of UNICEF and the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) from the end of 2019 to the beginning of 2021, she has acquired additional skills for working with vulnerable families.

A home-visit nurse Sanela visits a family of ten from Podgorica
UNICEF Montenegro / Duško Miljanić / 2021
Sanela Rastoder, a home-visit nurse at the Primary Healthcare Centre in Podgorica, explains how, thanks to the UNICEF training, she has acquired additional skills for working with vulnerable families, in Podgorica, in July 2021.

I have participated in various humanitarian actions before. However, this particular training has helped me learn how to connect those who need help with those who provide information, services, and help for vulnerable families.

Sanela Rastoder, a home-visit nurse at the Primary Healthcare Centre in Podgorica

Since then, she has been taking care of the 10-member Rujovic family, who live in the Konik settlement in Podgorica.

We met on a cold winter’s day when I came to help them with their baby. I could not tell whether it was colder outside or inside their windowless shack. While I was swaddling the baby, the mother looked at me and said ‘Dear nurse, you don’t know how cold it is for us here’.

Sanela Rastoder, a home-visit nurse at the Primary Healthcare Centre in Podgorica

After that, she says, she contacted the social protection service and organizations that help the poor and even used her personal contacts to help them improve their living conditions.

In addition to demonstrating humanity, she showed how community nurses who have direct contact with citizens can establish a connection between vulnerable families and other services in the community.

She’s like a sister to me. Whenever we need something, Sanela is there to provide. If it is necessary, she makes sure to pay a late visit in the evening or early in the morning to attend to the baby or explain it to us over the phone.

Tanja Rujovic, a mother of eight
Tanja Rujovic, a mother of eight
UNICEF Montenegro / Duško Miljanić / 2021
Tanja Rujovic, a mother of eight, telling how much a home-visit nurse Sanela's support means to her, in Podgorica, in July 2021.

Despite Sanela’s efforts and the help of community services, the house where the Rujovic family lives needs additional investment in order to make the living conditions comfortable.

We have to fix the roof because it is leaking, but we are going to do it little by little. The most important thing for us is that we have built a house and that we are no longer in a shack without windows.

Fadil Rujovic, a father of eight

The Rujovic family lives on social assistance, which amounts to €200 a month. Fadil earns money by collecting secondary raw materials. His wife Tanja takes care of the children and highly appreciates the help and support provided by the home-visit nurse, Sanela.

I’m more than a home-visit nurse. They know me as a mother of successful children who are attending school in that same neighbourhood; they know me as a woman who lives right there among them. They trust me and easily decide to ask me for help.

Sanela Rastoder, a home-visit nurse at the Primary Healthcare Centre in Podgorica
The youngest child of the Rujević family is looking forward to meeting the patronage nurse Sanel, in Podgorica, in July 2021.
UNICEF Montenegro / Duško Miljanić / 2021
The youngest child of the Rujević family is happy to see the home-visit nurse Sanela, in Podgorica, in July 2021.

Ida Ferdinandi, UNICEF’s Early Childhood Development officer, says that a home-visit nurse cannot provide everything a family needs but can assess when a family needs help and can connect the family with other community services.

Ida Ferdinandi, UNICEF’s Early Childhood Development officer
UNICEF Montenegro / Duško Miljanić / 2021
Ida Ferdinandi, UNICEF Early Childhood Development officer, explaining different ways home visit nurses support families who face multiple challenges, in Podgorica, in July 2021.

A total of 101 participants from local primary healthcare centres and centres for social work throughout Montenegro attended the training, including 52 home-visit nurses. The training covered the following topics: the role of community nurses, communication skills, overcoming stigma and discrimination. The participants were introduced to the community-based services provided by the state organs and the civil and private sectors, which can be accessed by families who face multiple challenges.

Ida Ferdinandi, UNICEF Early Childhood Development officer

UNICEF will continue to provide support to the most vulnerable families by enhancing various support services, such as the home-visitation services provided by nurses across the country.