The Mozambican nurse Adélia Nacucula, 30 years old, travels a distance of over two hours to arrive at Matsékwa Health Center, in Catembe District, to serve patients who seek health unit for medical care.
The lack of conditions in the residence, conceived for the nurses of the Matsékwe Health Center, led Nacucula to rent a residence. Far from everything, in an area where transportation is scarce, she travels long distances on foot.
On this daily journey, which she has been facing for two months, the nurse deals with the typical sandy soil of Catembe. Under the sun or heavy rains, she strategizes on how to encourage the local community to go to the health unit at the first signs of some disease.
“People arrive at the health unit very late. Sometimes in severe condition. When they get sick, they first visit a traditional healer. When everything fails, they approach the health unit,” she laments.
One day, while Nacucula was making her normal journey from home to the health unit, she was confronted by a young woman.
“I have my neighbor who has been bedridden for months. He can’t walk or anything. We have tried to solve this in every possible way, but we can’t,” the young woman told the nurse. Afterwards, the nurse promised to visit the patient.
“As of 3 p.m., there are no more patients here seeking care. I take advantage of that time to visit patients at their home,” she clarifies.
When she arrived at the patient’s home, she realized that the patient’s condition was severe. Since she couldn’t take care of the patient, she resorted to Catembe Health Center to explain the director the patient’s situation.
“Fortunately, the director responded positively and he sent a team to that place so that the patient could be properly served.”
The patient’s feet were all filled with pus and yellowish tinge.
“We proceeded with the necessary care. We asked the patient’s family for support to help us to take him to the health center. Two weeks went by without us having any information about the patient. I plan to go again.
Therefore, whenever a group of patients make their way to the health center, she takes the moment to give lectures. The messages are the same “at the first signs of an illness, come to the health facility right away.”
Nacucula’s life is characterized by serving patients at her workplace and homes. However, “only when people communicate with me. It’s natural to know who is sick. Whenever I can, I go to the patients’ homes.”
“I do everything by myself”
At the Matsékwa Health Center, Nacucula works alone. She moves around the four rooms every day. From the treatment room, she goes to triage room and then to the pharmacy.
“Adding to the two hours I travel to the health center, per day I can walk around inside the health facility during hours of time,.”
According to the nurse, the cases that come into the health center are not usually serious. However, she wonders who will treat the patients when she is not available.
“In my absence, I don’t know how that will be. I was sick once, but I was forced to go to work. I remember that I resorted to self-medication and I went to the health center, I had to think about the people. And, in fact, that day there were a lot of sick people.”
According to the professional, the main barrier for users is the distance, since the nearest health unit is at least 3 kilometers away, in a region where public transportation is scarce.
“I consider myself an activist in family planning”
Nacucula was born in Inhambane, specifically in Mabote. She left behind her own home, family, husband, and two children to achieving her dreams. When she arrived at Maputo, she worked at the José Macamo General Hospital. From there, she was appointed to Catembe. So in her short career path, she has already realized that she will always be a “nomad.”
“I am always leaving everything behind to go in search of my dream. I left my hometown. I left my children. I even left the friends I met in Maputo City. But it hurts the most the fact that I have left my children there.”
She says that the fact that she was born in a region where family planning is not talked about, when she arrived at Catembe and saw an identical scenario, she found herself obliged to give lectures in the communities about family planning.
“We are inside Maputo, but it sounds outside. There is still a lack of information here. People don’t know about it. We need to work here too,” she says.
What did the Observatório do Cidadão para Saúde (OCS) discover?
With four compartments, one of them has its roof partially damaged. When it rains, one of the compartments, which houses coolers for storing health supplies, has been leaking. This situation puts patients’ lives at risk, since – by having the supplies damaged by rain – medicines and other medical supplies become insufficient. Therefore, we advocate the need to resolve this situation urgently.