During the pandemic, the Gambian team had to stop seeing and recruiting PRECISE participants. However, a team continue working to ensure that participant already enrolled in the study would be collected and brought to the hospital when she was in labour. It all started with this story that Abdoulie, nurse coordinator, shared with us
“The MRC had sent all staff home due to the emerging COVID pandemic and country wide lockdown. A participant in labour called to be taken to the hospital. She was desperate and it was clear that without our help she may not make it to a health facility for her delivery. At recruitment we offer transportation to our participants and to maintain credibility and ensure their wellbeing, it was our duty to continue this service. I discussed with Yorro, Francis, Lamin and Lamin, and Aminata, and we jointly decided to provide this highly important service to our participants.”
Francis, Lamin, Lamin, the drivers, told us that to deal with this risk while carrying out their jobs, they followed the preventative measures that kept them and the participants safe. “We very much adhered to these safety measures very seriously because we know it is a disease that can be transmitted. Our PPE was crucial, it contained hand sanitizers, spray for the surfaces and we opened the doors for them. At first it was challenging as there were rumours in the communities of the virus being spread by the MRC. However we remained patient and continued sensitising the patients and carried on with our jobs of facilitating hospital deliveries for our participants.”
Yorro, field worker supervisor and transport coordinator, said that the community and participants were all very happy and comfortable with the transport service.
“It has saved many lives during this difficult period when it was hard to get transport of any kind. Overall, this service was well appreciated and had a great impact in helping them get access to the health facilities during labour or when our participants were sick.”