Aminata Diop, 32, nurse, health post manager
Female leader doubly committed to the rural community of Léona
Originally from Mboro, it is in Léona, in the region of Louga that she chose to fully commit in community health. Aminata Diop is passionate about communication who uses the community radio of Léona FM as an awareness tool.
She believes that "in terms of professional challenges, women are just as capable as men".
Being the first woman appointed head of post in Léona, the practitioner is available 24 hours
a day for the local population who widely appreciates it as evidenced by the four children that were given her name.
Millennium Promise congratulates her and encourages her to maintain her daily efforts.
By Halima Djigo
Can you describe your school curriculum up to your graduation as a nurse?
After graduating from high school in Mboro, I went to the nursing school of Thiès.
I worked in a clinic in Mboro and then in another one in Tivaouane. I spearheaded the creation of the health post of Potou where I spent five years. In 2007, I was appointed to Leona as head of post and I am the first woman to access this position.
What do you do on a day to day basis?
With my team consisting of a midwife, a laboratory assistant, a matron and a paramedic, we receive patients at the dispensary but we also do analyzes. Influenza, diarrhea, vaccination on Wednesdays and Fridays, nutritional monitoring and ultrasounds are part of the package of activities that we carry out. Healthcare requires a deep commitment to patients. It is a very noble profession and I urge my colleagues to be attentive to patients, because it is essential. We must be able to detect any symptoms that can help us to provide a diagnosis. A bit of delicatess and caution is highly required. The commune of Leona relatively respects the ratio of 6 health posts for 30 000 inhabitants. Despite that, the number of staff is not enough for the monthly number of attendence. Consultations begin starting from 8:30 am and we take a break at 3 pm, to rest a for a few minutes. Work then resumes because we also deal with afternoon and evening emergencies such as deliveries.
What are the major difficulties encountered in the performance of your duties?
The irregular renewal of the drug stock is a real obstacle to the smooth running of our health activities. It's been three months, since December 2017, that we have no drugs in our depot and that can lead to complications in case of emergency. Two days ago, one of our patients had a seizure while her companion had gone to buy the medications the midwife had prescribed two hours earlier.
In addition, we only have one ambulance available for the five health posts in Léona. It is only available for one patient at a time, who can mobilize it all day, while other patients are also waiting for emergency care. Patients are forced to wait for long hours before being transported to Louga.
The second ambulance of the commune is in the locality of Sague Djiby Yague, and the midwife has to wait for an hour, every time she calls it, before it actually arrives.
Additionally, the health committee purchases the drugs and distributes them to children under 5 years of age in accordance with the universal health coverage prevailing in Senegal. Unfortunately, it’s been 14 months since the government has not refunded us.
How do you like working with Millennium Promise?
For the municipality and health providers it is a huge advantage to be able to work with Millennium Promise. We also learn a lot from this collaboration. I personally learned communication techniques and benefited from trainings. From 2006 to 2015, healthcare services were free which contributed to considerably reduce infant mortality.
Do you have other activities outside of managing the health post?
Every Tuesday from 4 pm to 5 pm on community radio Léona FM, I discuss a number of topics related to health. Health programs are far-reaching and allow behavioral change. I also receive confidences and secrets of couples which inspired me to create a show called "djoyou xol" (Tears from the Heart) which airs out every Wednesday night from 8 pm to 10 pm. The populations can call during the show to give their opinions on the topics that are being discussed. Sometimes I also go to the households to talk to people and hear their complaints.
What are you passionate about?
I like traveling and listening to acoustic music. Baaba Maal and the Rafa group are my favorite musicians.
What advice would you give to young girls that are reading you?
Puberty is a difficult time and I recommend that teenagers always ask for advice to try and better know their body. It is important to break the ice between adults and youth to avoid taboos. For those of them that are students, I strongly encourage them to continue their studies as long as possible. Be patient and do not be discouraged, even if the obstacles are numerous, you must hang on!