Our January star is Marta Macamo. Martinha, as affectionately called by the team, works in Manhiça where her role is to identify pregnant women attending the health facility (HF), confirm their identification number, direct them to the antenatal care office, and transport samples from the HF to the laboratory.

Since Martinha joined Manhiça Health Research Center (CISM) in 2004, she has been involved in several projects and has had many roles, such as counselling pregnant women, carrying out demographic field activities and conducting of social scientific interviews. She revealed that in her 17 years working as health professional, she enjoys the most working with pregnant women, because it gives her knowledge that she can share with those close to her:

“People in my community and family often come to me seeking counselling regarding reproductive health and pregnancy. Because of my role, I am able to advise them and explain where to seek specific care at the HF.”

In addition, Martinha revealed that she enjoys interacting with patients, especially pregnant women, however due to COVID-19 pandemic that interaction had to be reduced and many other complex procedures have been implemented to minimize the risk of the infection.

“I like to interact with the women and make them feel comfortable, but lately we have been following very strict procedures to avoid the infection, such as social distance, the use of face mask and so on. All these make it challenging to develop empathy with the women”

Finally, Martinha shared the following inspiring story from the PRECISE study:

“An experience that stayed with me from PRECISE was when an illiterate woman was refusing to consent for the study because she could not understand very well the explanation given by the nurses. I sat down with the woman and I explained in local language and using simple words all the procedures and steps of the study. After that, the woman revealed that she had understood the purpose of the study, and once all her concerns were clarified she was happy and willing to participate.”