By Shafiquejjaman Saikot, Research Assistant
I am going to talk about a person who has been working for the ‘Compassionate Narayanganj’ project from the very beginning. She is named Arifa Anjum and works as staff nurse.
I don’t usually have the good fortune to see her work up closely. Out of curiosity, I decided to spend a day with her to find out more about her work. She agreed, and I have tried to write her words neatly in the following interview.
“Working with home-based services in the community is a whole new experience for me. When providing home-based services, I first try to have a good communication with the patient, and then try to understand the patient’s physical symptoms. Besides physical pain, I try to identify their mental sufferings as well. If necessary, I receive the help of the patient’s caregiver. With the permission of the patient and as per the advice of the doctor, we provide the necessary services like catheter, dressing, oral care, skin care, examination and bed bath.
At the community level, there are often not enough instruments at hand to provide patient care. But we don’t stop our care activities; we provide services using alternative methods. For example, in case of dressing, if we don’t have normal saline at hand, we use boiled salt water instead. Moreover, we use small pillows instead of pneumatic bed, clean sliced cotton clothes instead of gauze bandage. And all of these are used according to certain rules.
We cannot change the environment around the patient and the patient’s family. We often have to face various obstacles to reach the patients’ homes. So we do our best to improve the quality of life of the patient and the patient’s family, keeping in mind the environment and the various adversities we encounter. We also conduct different sensitization programs for sensitizing the patients and the caregivers on various services provided by us.
Each of the registered patients in the Compassionate Narayanganj project is very important to us. We’re trying our best to improve the quality of their lives. One of our patients is named Md. Rubel. He had a large wound on his back when he enrolled as our registered patient and the wound was in stage 3. He suffered a lot from that wound. After receiving our services, his wound began to heal. Now his wound is completely healed. It is impossible to express in words what a great satisfaction it is! There is nothing more precious than the peace of mind which I get from serving the patient.
During this COVID-19 pandemic, we have kept our service running. We have kept the telephone service active for every registered patient. At this time, we’re taking a little more care of the patients who are at risk of getting sicker due to COVID-19; such as the patients suffering from tuberculosis, bronchial asthma, chronic diabetes, chronic hypertension, COPD and geriatric problems. We take care of these patients so that their respiratory problems do not increase, blood pressure and sugar are under control, and the family members take more care. If a patient needs emergency home care, we have kept the home service running while maintaining our own safety during this pandemic.
It is very important to keep the home based Palliative Care service running in Narayanganj City Corporation. There are many patients in Narayanganj who are completely bedridden and also mentally broken. Their standard of living is constantly deteriorating due to various superstitions. Many have thought that they have nothing else to do. We are constantly working to improve the quality of life of all these patients and their families. In addition to medication, mental and social care is important to keep a patient well.”
One of our patients Nurjahan Begum said about Arifa Anjum, “I feel much better when she comes to our home. She speaks very nicely and I like to hear her words. I try to follow her advice from time to time and I have benefited a lot from following her advice. The way she serves every patient like me is really admirable. All our prayers are with her. May Almighty keep her healthy always.”
What a noble profession the nursing is! Needless to say, she’s really enjoying her journey with Palliative Care and obviously with the ‘Compassionate Narayanganj’.
Compassionate Narayanganj is a pilot project funded by UK Aid Direct, a unique collaboration between Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), the Worldwide Hospice & Palliative Care Alliances (WHPCA) and the Narayanganj City Corporation (NCC) to ensure the availability of palliative care services.