A Day in the Life of a Niger Deltan – Dabota, the Emergency Nurse

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Dabota Omubo-Pepple is an Emergency Nurse currently working at the Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) of the Department of Pediatrics, University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital. She also doubles up as the Executive Director of Sickle Cell Awareness and Health Foundation (SCAHF), a non-governmental organization (NGO) focused on creating awareness on Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) & ensuring access to quality health care for those SCD affects.

Dabota has been a nurse for 6 years and ED of SCAHF for 3 years. Speaking on how it all started, she said, “I had a life-changing experience in 2003, after which I decided I was going to be in a position where I will help people recover, so I decided to study nursing. In 2015 I graduated from the University of Port Harcourt with a Bachelor in Nursing Science after meeting the requirements to be registered as and nurse in Nigeria.”

“After graduation while working in a private hospital in Rivers state, I had several opportunities to nurse children living with sickle cell disease and patients who had daily blood needs. In 2018, I and my sister Otokini, who also lives with sickle cell disease, started an organization to help meet the sickle cell and blood needs in the Niger Delta.”

Being an emergency nurse, her day is often driven by many factors as she explains. “I would like to say I do not have a typical day due to the nature of my job. My wakeup and bed times differ based on the shift I am on. I could either be on the morning shift that is from 7:30 am to 2 pm, the evening shift of 2 pm to 8 pm or the night shift that starts at 8 pm and ends at 7:30 am. I also have off days, days I do not have to show up at work, and I can give more time to the affairs of SCAHF and my personal wellbeing”

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Digging deeper into what happens, she explains “Irrespective of the time my day starts, I say my prayers and check my phone to see if I have a warrior (someone living with sickle cell disease) that needs my attention or a blood request through our blood donor request platform that needs to be met. If it’s a workday, my typical day at work is to provide care and love to the neonates (preterm babies and babies from birth to 28 days of life) who are sick and on admission. My unit is a 16-bed ward with 10 cots and 6 incubators. I provide all-around holistic care to them during my shift.”

“On my off days, when I am not looking for a blood donor or running a sickle cell awareness programme, I relax with a movie and munch on snacks and food.” Dabota says being a nurse and managing a volunteer blood donor community has helped her to live an impactful life, “I see it as an opportunity to give something to someone who cannot pay me back…”

Dabota has visited all the 9 states in the Niger Delta. Originally from Opobo in Rivers State, she loves the various tastes of the Niger Delta. “I love the Port Harcourt Bole (the sauce is first and only), Onunu and fresh fish pepper soup (from the Ijaws), Kekefia aka Plantain porridge (from the Bayelsans), the Ijaw native soup with all the sea proteins you can find, Edikaikong and Afang soup (from the Efik-Ibibio), to mention a few.” She also loves to travel by sea as this was the only means of transportation to her community for so many years.

“In the next 5 years, I hope to have completed a Master’s degree and started a PhD in Mental Health Nursing. I also intend to establish a blood bank in the Niger Delta to meet the region’s daily blood needs.”

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