How do you change the behavior of 1,200 doctors, nurses and attendants in a big city hospital? It helps to have nurses like Taus Kajwangya and Domina Kayenze. For their part in AmeriCares health worker safety training at Bugando Medical Center, these nurses have earned the title of Health Worker Safety Champions. For everyone at the hospital who benefits from the new safety procedures, Kejwangya and Kayenze are champions indeed.
Kayenze and Kajwangya have worked at Bugando for 29 and seven years, respectively. Along with their regular jobs, they now make sure that everyone—from top doctors to medical students to attendants—use safe procedures every day. Every month, Keyenze, Kajwangya and one other safety champion nurse conduct audits of each ward to monitor and track progress among staff and report back to the Health Worker Safety Committee. The nurses are also available for advice and knowledge on safety issues from proper hand washing to separating hazardous waste and reporting needle sticks. This work makes the hospital safer—workers and patients are at less risk for infections—and makes Keyenze and Kajwangya very valuable.
“After getting the training, people are changing their behavior, for example, with hand washing and wearing gloves,” Kajwangya said. “They used to carry contaminates and then come back and touch something else, but now they don’t do that. They wear gloves only once and wash their hands.”