Samira Kabani, a nurse manager at the Aga Khan University Hospital in Karachi, Pakistan, was one of the key team members behind the launch of 24/7 services for coronavirus patients.
In these uncertain times, she is always on the move as she coordinates the care of patients provided by over 50 on-campus and off-campus nurses. The marks from her tight-fitting protective mask are etched on her skin but she remains committed to providing compassionate care to all her patients.
“As soon as we received Pakistan’s first COVID-19 patient in February, I along with my other nursing colleagues built a set of tools – algorithms with defined testing criteria – for the admission and management of suspected and confirmed patients,” she said, while describing the system that helps track the progress of all patients under her care.
When Samira informed her staff about the need for a new system and for changes to be made to provide round-the-clock services to COVID-19 patients, she feared that they had feel worn out by the task. Instead, they rose to the challenge as they learnt how to operate the new patient system, worked in close coordination with colleagues from other departments, and donned layers of personal protective equipment to keep themselves and others safe while caring for potentially contagious patients.
"We knew it [was] not going to be easy and it [would] only get tougher. But we will get through this and we will help as many patients and their families as we can,” says Samira, an alumna of the AKU School of Nursing and Midwifery.
Over the past one-and-a-half months, frontline healthcare professionals working under Samira’s supervision have managed first-time patients, follow-up patients, as well as individuals who have allergies or seasonal cold and flu and are worried they may have the coronavirus.
Despite the many challenges of working in a high-risk environment, there are still moments of relief and happiness such as when a patient recovers and tests negative, or when a patient completes the isolation protocols and is able to return to his or her family.
Samira’s team continues to work closely with multidisciplinary teams in the University Hospital’s Infectious Diseases and Internal Medicine sections. They provide timely data on the progress of the coronavirus patients using an automated system that enables real-time information sharing with the Sindh government that shapes the public health response to the pandemic.
This story was adapted from an article published on the AKU website.