We’ll only be a few minutes, just enough time for a sip of hot coffee, or jebena as it’s called here, named after the ceramic cup which it is made and kept hot in.
There are people who dedicate themselves to this organisation for years. Laura is one of them. She’s been with us since 2009.
Laura is a nurse. We met her in a ward at the Salam Centre for Cardiac Surgery. What she said took me on a journey to the heart of EMERGENCY’s ideals. And as happens to me on every journey, I discovered new things and it gave sense to what I’d seen and heard.
‘I started out here,’ she told me. ‘I saw what EMERGENCY does here for its patients and its staff and I took on the organisation’s principles completely. Quality treatment, excellent tools, total care for patients, as well as training local staff. It’s that added value of eventually ending the project and letting it become a local hospital in every respect.
‘I’ve been in Iraq. I’ve been in Mayo. On my holidays, I helped the staff working on the Italy Programme. I’ve been in Port Sudan, where I saw how passionate my nursing students were. One of them, Ahmed, really summed up everything that’s wonderful about EMERGENCY. He did his work with passion. He always wanted to be with the patients, even when he was on holiday or ill. Like me. When someone’s in need, I’m there. This has become my family. I can give myself to it completely.
‘Salam has been a challenge. It’s not easy bringing free, quality heart surgery to a place like this. The next hospital, in Uganda, will be a challenge too. Coming back here after such a long time, seeing Manhael running the hospital, seeing the local staff working flawlessly besides international staff, you realise what a difference our work makes.’
Without listing them, just by telling her story, Laura has described the principles of the African Network of Medical Excellence, known as the ANME, which has been going for ten long years now. Laura was just the right person to think back with to that big initiative for EMERGENCY. After all, the idea of ANME started in 2009, the same year Laura joined us, and was founded in 2010.
And the sense all this gave to my journey? EMERGENCY takes you by the hand and shows you how to do healthcare properly, and most importantly, how to provide it constantly, something which is lacking in so many places. Excellence for everyone is not just an end point. It’s a journey, and one that we’ve begun. We will carry on up that long road.
Maddalena, EMERGENCY Staff in Sudan