They call her “grandma” in the hard-to-reach Ayetoro – Makoko community where she provides lifesaving routine immunization services to help prevent childhood diseases.
“It makes me happy to see the children I have immunized growing well and to see mothers bringing their children for immunization on schedule” said Temitope Salami, a nurse, and the officer in charge of Ayetoro primary health care center located in a hard-to-reach fishing settlement by the Lagos Lagoon.
Temitope helps mothers and caregivers understand the importance of vaccinating their children, ensures that children are vaccinated and follows up when immunization appointments are missed. Her six key messages of what every mother should know about immunization is conspicuously displayed behind her seat which she carefully goes over with them before every round of immunization.
Ayetoro – Makoko is an itinerant community but Temitope knows how to reach the children with lifesaving routine immunizations against preventable childhood diseases. “I go knocking on their doors especially when a child misses immunization appointment. We also organize immunization outreaches where we take the vaccines to their doorsteps as most mothers in Ayetoro are petty traders who go out of the community early in the mornings to earn a living”.
Due to traditional beliefs, some women in the community still deliver their babies at home. Temitope follows up to get the children immunized.
Temitope Salami is well respected and appreciated in Ayetoro for her passion and dedication. “Their prayers and kind words give me joy and fuel my passion”.
Incidentally, Nursing happened to Temitope by chance. She wanted to be a Medical Lab Scientist but changed her mind during her Industrial Attachment – a prerequisite practical training for Medical lab students. “The demeanor of the nurses I met at the Ogun State University Teaching Hospital during the training charmed me into the nursing profession and I immediately made the switch”.
It’s been over 15 years since then and Temitope has remained committed to providing critical routine immunization services to thousands of children in hard-to-reach communities in Lagos state which has taken her across Kosofe, Ibeju Lekki and Yaba districts.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of UNICEF Nigeria.Media files