Golden Jubilarians, Nigeria - 2011
Award for one of our jubilarians, Sister Therese Jane Oguh
This year Sister Therese Jane was honoured with an award from Nigeria's Health Ministry and its development partners. Dr David Okello, the WHO country representative for Nigeria, made the presentation.
She had not been told beforehand about the award, for which she received a standing ovation. Sister Therese was recognized for running mobile antenatal clinics for many who could not travel long distances to medical services. She was sometimes 'in the nick of time to take a difficult delivery and save the life of mother and baby.'
Her work began when she was twenty, training for midwifery in St. Luke's Hospital, Anua. Later she started a started a single-room health centre with two other MMMs at Ikot Ene, a rural area. After gaining her Grade One midwifery qualification she was responsible for the maternity work in Ogoja, where there were few doctors.
Even during the Civil War she bravely carried on at Ndubia under difficult circumstances. She was under house arrest for eleven months but continued to work. After this she gained a Diploma in Public Health and graduated in general nursing in 1978. Armed with these she headed to set up services in yet another outpost in Zungeru Community Health Centre. In Gussoro she established a model for primary health care services.
This woman with a holistic approach has not stopped working in her later years. Sister Therese Jane said that it is her dream to ease the unbearable suffering for women caused by obstetric fistulae. These usually occur after long labour when mothers do not have access to the kind of services that Sister Therese and other MMMs have worked to provide.
These are Golden Years indeed.