Delivering high-quality immunization services
Poonam boosts her skills to deliver high-quality immunization services for children
Suva, Fiji – It was another busy day for Maternal and Child Health Nurse at the Samabula Health Centre, Poonam Ratnam, as she vaccinated about 15 children against vaccine preventable diseases.
But this day was different – and a start to refreshed and enhanced practices around the health centre.
Poonam had recently returned from a four-day national level training on immunization in practices, facilitated by the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, together with WHO and UNICEF, with support from the Government of Japan.
For Poonam, this training was a game-changer as it helped her health centre improve on quality delivery of immunization services to children and women.
“The training was so educational and really in-depth. For me, being in the medical profession for almost 13 years now, found that the focus on micro-planning and cold chain was so important.”
She highlighted the importance of keeping vaccines in the right cold chain temperature to guarantee that children are fully protected against the disease and are not at risk of adverse reactions.
“I also learnt why it is important to keep the basket that holds the vaccines together in the fridge. I always saw this happening, but I didn’t know the reason behind it. The baskets help protect vaccine vials from getting exposed to freezing when they touch the walls of the fridge and also allow air circulation within the fridge.”
She also added that she well-understood how to properly make a micro plan at the health facility level and has started drawing a catchment area map in ensuring no child is left behind.
Poonam looked down at her papers in deep thought and paused for a while.
“I have been with my current health centre for five years now and didn’t realize the need to forecast our data until I sat in the training.” She looked up and continued. “We need to check our immunization register – on how many babies are expected to arrive for vaccination in a particular area so that there’s no risk of low stock of vaccines.”
Nurses usually estimate how many vaccines they need to take especially for shift clinic when they go to the villages. But if they micro plan systematically and are able to take enough vaccines, then parents and guardians would not need to then come back another day to vaccinate their child because of stock-out.
“This is especially important for nurses located in the remote areas where parents and families have to travel a long distance to reach the vaccination location.”
“I love bringing my child to this clinic and having her checked by Poonam. Poonam always provides me with the best guidance for my child,” said Miliakene Ditaroga, a mother who brings her baby to the Samabula Health Centre. “I’m so glad that nurses are part of trainings so they can provide the best care for mothers like myself and our children.”
Poonam adds that being a nurse brings her happiness as she is able to play a vital role in protecting children. Regular trainings like this to help boost skills for nurses like her is so important especially in the medical field where learning needs to continue to provide the best health services to communities.
“The best part of my job is seeing children with loving, bright smiles. It makes me feel so good to know that parents are happy to bring their children to my health centre as they trust us and say that we provide the best healthcare.”
Poonam is already sharing the knowledge and skills learnt during the training with other nurses in the health centre.