Zenobia Rama-Dahya is a BD employee who volunteered to write and present nurse training in Eswatini (the second smallest country in Africa). The project involved training 44 clinic nurses on 14 topics selected by the Medical Director and Matron to improve patient care in the remote areas of Eswatini. The clinics operate with nurses and community health workers to diagnose and treat patients because physicians visit the clinic less than one day a month. This makes a nurse’s role invaluable to identify disease states, know who to refer to the hospital or treat under clinic protocols.
COVID-19 transformed our in-person training to remote training. Our trainers accepted the responsibility of training remotely on Eswatini time (midnight in Eswatini is 8:30 am central time). Training in a different country with different customs is difficult at any time. But teaching remotely added a new twist. We would not be able to get to know the nurses or read the temperature of the room (figuratively and physically). This would make that all-important connection between teacher and student extremely difficult.
Zenobia stepped up to make the difference. Zenobia is from South Africa and her home is only a one- hour flight from Eswatini. She volunteered to be the only representative present at the training, no one else could travel to Eswatini due to COVID-19. She greeted the nurses, welcomed them daily, probed to get questions from them and then answered their questions. She was in Eswatini on International Women’s Day and brought roses for each woman in the class. When the nurses were engaged and asked questions, Zenobia tossed candy to them and kept them laughing. A great deal of the training involved breaking into small groups, and again, Zenobia kept them all moving in the right directions.
There were so many other things Zenobia handled with grace. The hospital ran out of internet (yes, that happens), and she finished the lectures for the day then worked with us to get funding available to teach remotely the next day. Zenobia was our interface with the CEO, the Matron, the cafeteria that provided meals (sometimes 2 hours late) and seeking better housing for the nurses that came into the big city from their remote clinics.
Zenobia embodies the best qualities of BD and Heart to Heart International. She is kind, compassionate and works tirelessly to improve health outcomes globally.