PanAfricare Blog

A Nurse’s Dedication: Nanok’s Fight Against Covid-19 in Turkana County


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About 100 kilometers from Lodwar town lies Lokwatubwa village; one of the remotest areas of Turkana County. Surrounded by rocky hills, dry riverbeds and no road network, getting to Lokwatubwa is literally an uphill task.

The village is served by a single dispensary only accessible by rocky impassable roads or by foot. The dispensary is manned by Nanok Simon who is the Nurse in charge.

According to Nanok, the dispensary serves other 14 far flung villages up to 80 kilometers away that can only be accessed by foot. He says it takes two to three days for the villagers to arrive at the facility. “People trek for days to arrive here. Outreaches have been very helpful in taking health services closer to the villages. The absence of the outreaches forces them to make the grueling journey.”

Despite the challenges, Lokwatubwa has registered impressive numbers of people vaccinated against Covid19. Nanok explains, “When Covid19 hit everyone was affected. Being in charge here, I personally took the initiative to communicate with the fourteen Community health volunteers reporting to me. We came up with ways to educate the community on how they can protect themselves.”

“We also included mother-to-mother support groups to enhance Covid-19 awareness in the community. It was an interesting time because as health workers we really needed to be innovative in our approach.”

Nanok says in the beginning there was a lot of fears and misconceptions about the virus and vaccines. “When vaccines arrived people feared it. In one of the outreaches I took my first dose in front of everyone just to show that the vaccines are safe for everyone.”

He adds that convincing people to take up Covid-19 vaccines has not been easy and requires a lot of passion, patience and repeatedly passing the awareness messages. “I used events such as the immunization days to give health talks that not only touched on common diseases but also Covid-19. This way the community would consistently get more information about the virus”

Nanok heads to an outreach site with CHVs
Nanok vaccinating at an outreach site

“Another key strategy I employed was to integrate Covid-19 vaccination into routine procedures so that it could be administered alongside other vaccines. We didn’t wait for specific days to administer it; anyone who visited the facility for other diseases could also get vaccinated.”

As months passed people gradually accepted the Covid-19 vaccines. The resistance reduced and some of the biggest critics of the vaccines became community champions further influencing more people to get the jab.

Nanok’s remarkable story is one of passion, determination and a commitment to making a positive impact on the lives of others. It reminds us that we have the power to overcome obstacles and create a better world through our actions and dedication to the well-being of others.

By Dominic Kosgei, Communications Officer. PanAfricare Kenya