June 2, 2015

Why We Do What We Do: Halima Mohammed

Halima Mohammed
As a child, I watched people with acute and chronic illnesses coming to the health station located hundreds of meters from our home. My father was a health assistant in charge of a rural government clinic and spent most of the days working in the clinic. He was sometimes called for emergency services during the night and had to travel to remote rural villages when epidemics occurred. My exposure and interest in public health was a part of my life as long as I can remember.

After completing my high school education, I enrolled in the Addis Ababa Centralized School of Nursing. I was assigned to the rural health center Arsi, Robe where I started my professional career as a qualified nurse. There I diagnosed and treated patients, provided maternal and child health services, and vaccinated children at the health center and outreach posts. I was often expected to perform those duties without a supervisor - which challenged me while also giving me the opportunity to make decisions, be confident and broaden my education and experience.

After four years at the rural health center I was transferred to a regional hospital in Arsi, Assela where I worked in several departments and managed a nurses division. I then relocated to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where I joined the Black Lion Specialized Referral Hospital and served for 15 years in diverse positions. During that time, I also advanced my education and received a B.S. degree in nursing and M.H.A. in Health Care Administration.

I joined the GHLI HEPCAPS Project in November 2013. I appreciate and enjoy the strategic thinking of the program, which aims to strengthen health systems in African countries, mainly through capacity building, training and research. As part of the HEPCAPS team, I work to strengthen primary health care units within the larger health sector in Ethiopia. The time motion study for HEPCAPS and PHCU demonstration project by GHLI are the most rewarding aspects of my work. This project helps us understand how health extension workers in Ethiopia spend their time, and my role includes collecting, monitoring and reviewing this data. The biggest challenge is bringing the people and the stakeholders I work with on board to implement the strategy.

As my work progresses, I hope to continue to improve health systems at the grassroots level and to also develop my skills by working on projects with people from which I can continue to learn and grow.

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