olga yetikoua

(40# Central African Republic) Olga Yetikoua: Why she kicks ass

 “I’ve spent most of my professional life working in the capital. Coming here, I realised just how neglected our health services, and health workers, have been. I literally had to start from zero.”

  • She is a midwife and nurse supervisor for the NGO Merlin. Her job is to look after three of the 11 health facilities Merlin supports in Nana Grebizi.
  • In total, she oversees the training of 30 health workers. She travels between each clinic, helping to train staff as she goes, as well as making sure drugs are stocked and patients are receiving the care they need.
  • When she started the clinics were seeing 10 to 20 patients a month – worse, there were no drugs, no supervision and sometimes no staff. Now the clinics are seeing up to 300 patients a month. They have drugs, which are free to patients, and clinics have been rebuilt.
  • She noted that all the staff she spoke to were demotivated: they hadn’t been paid for months. The ones who’ve been trained – even a little – hadn’t put any of their knowledge into practice for years. “How could they? They had no drugs, no equipment. So even basic things, they’d forgotten. We literally had to start from zero.”
  •  “The difference in the staff is inspiring. They’re invested in Merlin’s work. It’s staggering to see health workers who’ve been doing this for years – decades even - understanding for the first time how to heal people.”
  • She helped launch, and was featured in Merlin’s Hands Up for Health Workers campaign last November, a campaign highlighting the global shortage of four million doctors, nurses and midwifes, calling for vital training funding for health workers.