June 4, 2016 was the last day of work for Jenny at Pyin Oo Lwin District Hospital in Myanmar. The day was celebrated with an appreciation ceremony for more than 50 nurses in celebration of their hard work and dedication.
Nurses’ commitment is rarely recognized, but they do the majority of the work in caring for sick babies here. Each nurse often has more than 20 sick babies to take care of at once, works long hours and doesn’t get any extra pay or special training for this challenging job.
Jenny arrived in Myanmar as a Nurse Volunteer from the UK in mid-2015 as part of a joint program between Thrive Networks and Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO). The program places nurse volunteers for 9 months in government hospitals in order to help improve the quality and efficiency of newborn care.
Though an experienced newborn nurse in the UK, this was her first experience in a low-resource country, so Jenny spent her first month in the main University Hospital in Mandalay where she learned local practices and procedures and began to develop a plan of action for her placement in Pyin Oo Lwin.
During her time at Pyin Oo Lwin District hospital she worked with the staff to make lasting changes to the unit. These included the design of ongoing trainings, reorganization of beds and standard protocols for treatment and staffing. This was a valuable experience for the local nurses and Jenny, who hopes to return and continue this type of work in the future.
“One of my proudest achievements was to ensure that mothers were able to be near their babies to encourage breastfeeding, KMC and bonding. This is not only good for the family but also takes a burden off the small overwhelmed nursing staff.” –Jenny
“Jenny not only helped us reorganize and improve the care on the ward, but also brought greater recognition and motivation to the nurses in the hospital.” –Senior Consultant Pediatrician, Pyin Oo Lwin District Hospital