Part of the solution

Nurses are vital to our eye care work, caring for patients in countries where there is often a desperate shortage of health workers. Madame Bah Nimatoluaye is a nurse from Guinea who is part of our eye care project there.

When I was 13, I went to a hospital and saw people that were sick. I wanted to become part of the solution, I wanted to become one of the people looking after those sick people. Working to help sick people runs in my family: I have a brother who is a surgeon and have always admired his job. Initially I wanted to be a doctor, but my plans changed when I got married. I passed the exams to get onto the course, but decided I wanted to have a family. Training to be a nurse gave me more time to look after my children.

In addition to managing the other nurses, I spend three days a week looking after the operating theater. I prepare the anesthetic that is given to people having eye surgery. I also sterilize and prepare all the surgical instruments and am in charge of bringing people into the surgical theater for their operations.

 I wanted to become part of the solution, I wanted to become one of the people looking after those sick people

Within the theater we only use two operating tables at a time. This gives me time to do all the prep for the first patient and prepare their anesthetic, before moving onto the next patient whilst the anesthetic gets to work on the first one. Another nurse will stay with the first patient to make sure they are looked after and not left alone. We normally operate on about 12 people a day.

The rest of the time I help with consultations in the eye care unit. On an average day I will help test the eyes of around 50 people. However my job changes from day to day: if there is a problem in the unit I am the first person the staff calls for!

The thing I enjoy most about my work is when a sick person comes in who can’t see me. I talk to them and reassure them that the operation will go well. Then when the bandages come off they realize what I look like and that it was me they were talking to all along.

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