A few team members from USAID’s Serviços Essencias de Saudé (SES) project
traveled to Ekunha municipality two hours away from the capital of the province. They were on their way to attend a celebration of Health Workers’ Day, where Augusta Chicumbo, head of the department of permanent education at the Provincial Health Directorate in Huambo, and Rosalina Catanha, coordinator of the reproductive health and family planning program in the province, were going to receive the third prize of the scientific contest the Provincial Health Directorate and SES had organized.
Both had presented a study on delivery care at the maternity ward in the Central Hospital of Huambo. Augusta tells us her story:
“To tell you the truth, when I started this job (as head of the permanent education department), I did not know what it entailed. I started working to get some funds to train different program focal points in the 11 municipalities of Huambo, but if we did two or three training courses per year, it was enough for us, we felt satisfied. I am a nurse and a teacher, Huambo was still recuperating from a devastating war, people had fled to other provinces, and it was difficult to know where to start. But, I feel very proud of what we have been able to do during these past two years with the support of the SES project. Last year, we organized the first scientific symposiums and this year, we organized the 11 scientific symposiums.
“SES also organized a scientific contest with a body of well-recognized jurors! We were so proud and motivated, but Rosalina and I did not want to tell anybody we were going to present an abstract for the contest! Nobody knew it was us when they selected our paper, since the jury asked to send all studies with no names — so we were so surprised to receive the news! We feel very proud. We are two widowers with children and grandchildren and we feel we are finally starting to live again! This year the scientific symposiums allowed us to reach almost 50 percent of the health workers in the province with our training. We reached 2,231 of the work force with at least one course, and we already feel confident that next year, with the experience we have had with SES, we are going to be able to start earlier and reach 100 percent of the workers. As Huambo citizens, we also feel we are contributing our share for Huambo to recuperate its fame and prestige as a city that promotes education and culture.”