Mauritania: Medical Experts Share their Experiences under the Temporary Return of Diaspora Programme

Published Date: 
Mon, 07/05/2021 - 17:45

Nouakchott – The impact of COVID-19 on global health, economic and industrial facilities, and the need for urgent adaptation arising from this pandemic, call for profound revamps of these facilities, including equipment, preparedness and training of healthcare workers.

As in most health facilities in West and Central African, Mauritania’s health facilities have been challenged by the pandemic, which is still affecting the country. In a bid to address the growing need for nurses and healthcare workers, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) supported the return of 12 Mauritanian health professionals, including pneumologists, hepato-gastroenterologists and nurses from France, Morocco and Senegal to support the Government’s efforts in their country of origin.

Through the Temporary Return of Diaspora Programme funded by the European Union Emergency Trust Fund (EUTF) for Africa under the EU-IOM Joint Initiative, Mauritanian physicians can actively commit themselves to strengthening their country of origin’s COVID-19 response as well as improving general living conditions of the Mauritanian population. Highly committed to supporting Mauritania in its efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, they have been engaged by IOM as consultants.

Within the framework of this initiative, they play a key role as trainers and mentors to local health professionals to contribute to building the capacity of the Mauritanian health services. Despite the current logistical and material challenges, local healthcare workers are making a major contribution, providing quality patient care and saving lives daily, according to them.

“Working in healthcare facilities is a vocation that is fulfilled beyond boundaries,” said N’Diaye Fatoumata, a private nurse. “I was lucky enough to be part of a welcoming, qualified and spontaneous team of caregivers, who accepted constructive criticism, took advice and with whom I exchanged valuable information from which I learned a lot.”   

The development of new health communication tools by these diaspora paramedics and physicians to improve exchanges between Mauritanian State-registered nurses and physicians can be seen as one of the most successful methods of ensuring more effective unity.

The ability to communicate and share information between the different members of the medical teams has thus contributed to creating an advantageous situation both for those seeking to build up greater medical expertise and those wishing to contribute to health facility development in their country of origin.

“I was lucky enough to obtain my high school degree in Mauritania and it is really a great pride for me to come back here,” said Fodio Camara, a private nurse living in the Paris region. “Despite the difference in language and the apprehension it causes, you realize that you can provide care and reassurance to a patient in any language. You just have to use the right posture and tone and it works like magic.”

The link network between the diaspora and the country of origin is the result of an IOM initiative funded by the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa. These medical experts constantly liaise with the IOM team in Mauritania to ensure that they positively encourage their paramedical and medical colleagues in the diaspora to engage in this initiative.