Story from the Field - Tiny People Matter

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​​Story from the Field - Tiny People Matter

“Tiny People Matter”(TPM) is a non-profit global medical relief team that provides care for children and infants in developing countries around the world. Tiny People Matter strives to empower and encourage others by providing education to better equip health care personnel in resource limited areas. 

A TPM team of 8 Nurses and Doctors traveled to The Copperbelt Region of Zambia, Africa in November 2011. The Team was trained in HBB principles. 

Melissa Artz RN, BSN and Linda Owens RN, CRNP traveled to that region the year before in order to lay the ground work for the team . They trained in various health care facilities on the subjects of:

  1. Thermoregulation of the neonate 
  2. Kangaroo care 
  3. Proper positioning of preterm neonates 
  4. Methods to prevent and control infection within the neonatal intensive care unit 
  5. Methods to educate parents to overcome nutritional challenges, and helping to decrease the chance of their children becoming malnourished 

During this visit to Zambia, Melissa and Linda also assessed the need for education of the HBB program within this region, contacted various ministries of health, and spoke with political figures to obtain permission to bring a TPM team to teach HBB in the region. Melissa and Linda identified key leaders within each facility and began building excitement and anticipation of HBB training to various hospitals and clinics in Zambia. 

In November 2011, a team of TPM Nurses and Doctors, who had never worked together previously, embarked on mission and functioned at a very high level. While in Zambia, the TPM team taught HBB: The Golden Minute program to over 100 doctors, anesthesiologists, nurses, mid-wives, trained birthing assistants and midwifery students. The TPM team conducted classes in the four clinics and hospitals. The energy, excitement, hospitality and gratitude displayed by the Zambian people were overwhelming. 

As the leader of TPM, I made the decision to organize my doctors and nurses in teams of two. Each pair had no more than 6 HBB students in their group. This provided the best possible environment for teaching and learning. I encouraged my team members to take time to get to know each of their students and lean what function and job each attendee had in the hospital, clinic or village in which he or she worked. I encouraged my team to have each student share an experience that they had in delivering a baby. Drawing out those experiences conveys respect for each person we are teaching; that we truly care about them; that we value them as persons; and that we are not just “teaching a program”. It also helps us to gain an understanding and appreciation for the daily challenges that these health care providers must overcome to do their jobs. 

My team had to overcome several challenges. We had to be flexible and adaptable with the teaching environment. We were often in very small rooms. We had to divide into several rooms. Schedules were always changing so we could accommodate as many students as possible. The TPM team handled it all with a great deal of grace and finesse. The TPM team so selflessly emptied themselves into the mission and generously shared their knowledge to help teach those with limited resources how to better care for and save babies that may otherwise die. 

After we completed one full day of HBB teaching a student stood up with tears in her eyes and said to my team, “Thank you so much for coming all this way to teach us this Golden Minute. Our pledge to you is NO baby will die in our hands.” 

TPM held a HBB Graduation for all the students from all four facilities that successfully completed the HBB program. We spoke with the Mayor about honoring the graduates. He generously offered us the use of his civic center for the ceremony. The Minister of Health personally came to the graduation and signed each graduation certificate presented. It was my favorite day!! What a celebration!! The Mayor spoke. Each graduate came forward and received their certificate as they shook the Mayor’s hand. We took a photo of them receiving it and printed it for them to have. 

One mid-wife came to me at the graduation and said “This means more to me and my village then you will ever know. It is the most special day in my life and I will hang this certificate and picture where everyone can see.” 

A Trained Birthing Assistant, who had walked for 3 hours to attend the class and had never seen an ambu bag until that class, came up to me at graduation and said “I just wanted you to know I have my first HBB class scheduled for two days from now, I will teach these women in my village how to save babies, we will not be helpless!” This lady is what HBB looks like in action!! 

TPM has been invited back by the Minister of Health and local government officials to Teach HBB in several hospitals and clinics in the Northern Province of Zambia. We will be returning in November 2012 with a team of 12 individuals trained in HBB to further saturate Zambia with HBB and Golden Minute Program. 

Knowledge is something to be shared and never to be wasted. 

Melissa Artz RN, BSN 
Founder and Director 
Tiny People Matter 
www.tinypeoplematter.org ​
TPMinternational@gmail.com  ​​

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