Cut the Transmission, the Commitment of health workers
Nurse Bertha González rides her bicycle through the streets of the peripheral neighborhoods of Matagalpa, in northern Nicaragua, where she visits neighbors as part of the COVID-19 vaccination campaign.
Matagalpa, Nicaragua. As a child, Bertha González played at being a nurse and knew that her mission in life would be to help others. When the time came, she chose that profession without hesitation. The COVID-19 pandemic confronts her with an unprecedented challenge: to take care of her health and that of her family, while bringing vaccines to every corner of her community.
After the first cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Nicaragua in March 2020, fear struck nurse Bertha González. Her greatest concern was contracting the virus and infecting her son Andrew (7). But fear never waned her dedication to service: “I knew that as a nurse I had to come close to sick people, and that despite the risk I had to do my best to help them,” she recalls.
Training from the Ministry of Health (MINSA), and the experience she quickly gained in the field, helped her gain confidence and continue her humanitarian work. “Before the pandemic we used to come to the home of families in our community without further measures. The coronavirus forced us to adapt to these series of personal protection measures, and although it may have been difficult at times, I never let my guard down thinking about my son and the rest of my family,” Bertha says.
Vaccination against COVID-19 meant exhausting days for Bertha and all the health frontline workers. “When the voluntary Covid-19 vaccination campaign began, the vaccines were applied by brigades that came from Managua. Our job was to go from house to house to raise awareness among the population about the importance of getting vaccinated”, she explains.
Door-to-door, doctors and nurses promote Covid-19 vaccine uptake.
With the support of UNICEF, the Ministry of Health implemented a communication campaign to inform the public and reinforce the work of the health workers. A series of video messages, radio spots and posters were disseminated through social media, traditional media and other formats.
“The truth is that the campaign helped a lot, since the posters, the radio ads, the megaphone advertising, all these made the population come to the health unit where we already had a vaccination station with the full range of vaccines offered by the Ministry of Health: from the two-year-old child to the elderly”, she says proudly.