by Eileen Quinn Knight, Ph.D. Profiles in Catholicism
Dr. Knight: Could you tell us about your early Catholic formation and what led you to nursing?
Keziah: I was born a Catholic, having the opportunity to be raised in a small Catholic community in Bazza, Michika Local government of Adamawa state, Northeast Nigeria, back then in my village we only had the sisters of Mercy who only offer secondary health care, I saw the efforts the Rev (Chidi) sister put in to see one of my sister who was pregnant deliver successfully, but unfortunately, my sister count make it because there is no tertiary health care providers, from the ,moment I saw the Rev sisters effort to rescue my sister, I decided I will be a nurse to offer health care services like the Rev. sister, and that informed my decision of becoming a nurse
Dr. Knight: You mention that you are involved in community mobilization and sensitization strategies. What does that look like for most people?
Keziah: This in other word is called health education strategy, this strategy was developed to move away from the normal health education to a more advance one, for example, before the covid pandemic, we use to gather large group of people to talk on health topics, but now the strategy is developed in such a way that, health education is individualized through one on one health talks, attitude adjustment towards health seeking behaviors, advocacy to traditional and religious leaders on harmful health practices amongst others, involving men as stakeholders in caring for the sick ,seeking for care in a timely manner after sexual exploitation etc.
Dr. Knight: Our magazine has done a great deal of investigation into sexual abuse of minors and the violence attached to most issues reported. Could you tell us about your work in this area?
Keziah: Yes, most times than not, the perpetrators or their relationship try to get revenge on the survivors and their parents, what I do is, first I take the case to the court, we have lawyers who work to see that there are zero tolerance to retaliation by making the perpetrators swear an Orth on the wellbeing of the survivor, and that any act perceived as retaliation may result to life imprisonment. I equally made any abuse perpetrated against a minor fall under the category of mandatory reporting. During clinical care, we keep semen, dirt, stained clothes and other items for investigation by the police, and we have a medical doctor who confirm that rape has occurred, because in my country Nigeria, only the doctors can say if a rape has taken place or not.
Dr. Knight: Could you tell us about your care for sexual assault survivors?
Keziah: Because I work in an internally displaced persons camp where rape and sexual exploitation is very common, most victims of such are the minors, and not only the minor but people leaving with disability, my job to care for such survivors are in two phases,(1) the empowerment and protection aspect such services as giving psychological care to the parents of the abused and the victims, importance of reporting the incidents in a timely manner, provision of shelter, case management for the survivors, risk mitigation measure awareness, mandatory reporting of the incident where need be;(2) Sexual and reproductive health care aspect such as clinical care for sexual assault survivors for example, treatment of wound sustained, administration of Post exposure prophylaxis against HIV and other sexually transmitted infection, treatment of sepsis etc. All the above services are giving in a dignified, private and confidential manner.
Dr. Knight: Your devotion to primary health care consultation is admirable. Do you bring the message of the Gospels into this consultation? If so could you tell us about that?
Keziah: yes, I do, but the limitation I have is, my profession allows me to give spiritual care to people who demands for it and people who are clearly thirsty for Christ by reading on their psychology, I work in an environment where the population are Muslim and such topics are not allowed to be discuss based on neutrality for the organization I work. I preach Christ outside my working hours to avoid conflict from my workplace.
Dr. Knight: Health care is so important considering all that is going on especially in our understanding of the COVID. Could you tell us how you have coped during this time>
Keziah: Being a frontline care provider, the only coping mechanism I developed is to bring life skills ,numeracy and literacy into the health care facility in an approach called the comprehensive women center, where women and girls are engaged with indoor activities like singing, dancing competition and learning skills like sewing, baking etc.
Dr. Knight: Tell us about your leisure time activities that draw you even more to service of those you work with and invigorate you for service in your job.
Keziah: what gives energy to the people I serve and work with during my leisure time is being with the adolescence girls during weekends when am not on duty, expression of satisfaction from service provision is my strength and it keeps me going.
Dr. Knight: What are your hopes for Catholic health care in the future?
Keziah: Now the world has evolved, health care too has. To enlighten my fellow Catholics in faith to know the importance of health care, encourage them on the teaching of the Catholic inline with health seeking behaviors, while keeping the Churches law on some health issues, there are other ways Catholic can be healthy without breaking the catholic laws surrounding some areas, for example, the use of family planning, another alternative to it is exclusive breastfeeding which prolong fertility return, calendar method, and other means. Aside that, I want the Catholic in the future to see some of the health consequences on the use on modern technology, for example, the use of condom for spouses with HIV especially when only one couple is affected, use of machine for fertilization for the barren women, this however is going to be discussed with utmost caution so that the populace will not abuse the chance.
Dr. Knight: What are your hopes for Catholic evangelization as we move forward?
Keziah: Taking Crist to all people, telling them about our Savior and our God, not only through evangelism, but also our behavior, our behavior as Catholics showcases Christ more than preaching sometimes. My hopes is seeing the Muslims and other non-Christian coming to know about Church, Our Christ and our God.
Dr. Knight: Why have you volunteered to help Profiles in Catholicism and what services are you willing to provide?
Keziah: I volunteer to help because I believe I want to contribute to the work of charity through my profession as a nurse and also to teach the young up coming generation about the Catholic faith.
The services i can offer include but not limited to the following taking catechism in the church, preaching Christ to the clients i come in contact with in the community ,offering health education on health seeking behaviors like taking good diet during pregnancy, care of the body to the adolescence, prevention of malaria, abstinence to prevent sexually transmitted infections, importance of clinic delivery, good post natal care to women, clinical care for sexual assault survivors, health education on risk mitigation to signs of assault .
Dr. Knight: Thank you so much for doing this interview with us and your devotion to the Catholic Church.