WEM speaks to course alumni Mariana Carmo about her experience being stranded on a small island community as a humanitarian nurse.
The medical department here on São Tomé and Príncipe off the west coast of Africa started in the middle of 2016 with Nurse João Fernandes to support international and national staff and guests.
I met João when I came to Príncipe in Jan 2017 on a mission with a Portuguese NGO and started to work with HBD that year. During this time we manage to keep the department between 3 nurses (João, Márcio and I). I was the one staying for longer periods of time.
Our relationship with the community and the Government developed during this time. We support the local hospital with training sessions for staff, medication and equipment. We became a link between NGO´s and the hospital.
João arrived in the middle of March 2019 to swap with me but with all that was happening and the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we decided to stay both on the island to help prepare for an expected surge in cases.
I went to the main island (São Tomé) for 7 days to liaise with the authorities there and help to close our hotel in São Tomé and João stayed in Príncipe.
We have worked as advisers to the Government as part of a crisis management team. During this process, we did protocols, developed contingency plans, a campaign hospital, trained staff, assisted to set up an operation centre, research equipment, etc.
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