In this interview with The Voice’s Chief Reporter, Dorothy Abellegah, a Senior Nursing Officer with Dalhatu Araf Specialist Hospital (DAS) in Nasarawa State, Mrs. Veronica Kpenkpen spoke on the solution to stable marriage and the challenges faced by nurses in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic. Excerpts:
You are a nurse, but tell us more about yourself….
I am Veronica Iyua Kpenkpen. I was born to Iyua Bebe Abia, on the 5th day of March 1975. I did my primary education at St. Joseph’s Primary School, Nyiman and attended Mount Carmel Secondary Schoo,l Makurdi, but graduated at Government Day Secondary School, Makurdi, in 1995. After that,
I got married to my husband Ernest Tyavnum Kpenkpen. The marriage is blessed with 4 children. We had our 26th anniversary recently. Yes, my first child is Steven Kumator, the second child is Chivirter Elizabeth while the third is Oryiman David and the last is Aondohemba Victor.
What is the most memorable moment of your life you can share with us?
The day I met my husband while going for catechism at St Theresa’s Catholic Church, Makurdi. There are other moments but that one is quite remarkable for me because the journey of where I am today, with my husband, started on that very day.
How do you handle your children since they are of different sex?
I give them equal opportunities. My only daughter will be part of my will and my husband’s will. I believe in inheritance rights for girl children as well as the right to qualitative education.
How did you become a nurse?
Yes. After my marriage and children, my husband trained me as a nurse. I went to School of Nursing Lafia, Nasarawa State but I work with Dalhatu Araf Specialist Hospital, still here in Lafia.
As a mother of four, how do you combine nursing with managing your home?
The success is God and prayer. God first. I plan a calendar; I set priorities, and set the family ready for the day. Prayer is the key and only prayer can enable a woman to keep a stable marriage.
There is so much indecency among children of nowadays; do you think there is any way out?
I do not allow indiscipline, just as I hate indecent dressing. My boys do not wear low waist trousers. As a parent, I help them and mould their life. They are learning. My girl child too, I do not allow her to misbehave and I think, women should be encouraged to discipline their children so they can become great leaders of tomorrow.
What makes you happy?
I am happy whenever I meet straightforward people. That’s what makes me happy.
Would you be a nurse again if given a new opportunity?
I would be a nurse again if given the opportunity. My husband was involved in a ghastly motor accident that almost took his life, so tending him gave me the love for nursing. He trained and encouraged me.
As a nurse, how has the fight against COVID19 affected your profession?
Pandemics come and go; the survivors are those who keep the rules. In Africa, we have had series; plague, Ebola, lassa fever, chicken pox, small pox and infantile sicknesses including measles. These ailments task our scientists to rush to the laboratories for remedies. The fear that accompanies these sicknesses are the spread and their viral nature. For COVID 19, the virus has the same symptoms as other viruses like; flu, influenza, common cold and others. All of them are highly transmissible through body contact or fluids from an infected person.
The laid down precautionary measures must be taken seriously. In other climes, self isolation is mandatory even when someone has flu or common cold. When there is the presence of wheezing, sneezing, watery eyes, runny nose and aches, the person is advised to seek medical attention and stay at home. To avoid re-infection, the person should use disposable tissues, put them in a bag, and burn them. Some people, while they have flu, will use the same handkerchief all day, they will blow their nose, and use the same handkerchief to wipe their face. Some will blow their nose, rub their palms together, and rub their head. It is unhealthy.
What is the right thing to do?
Government has domesticated a law on open defecation; there should also be a law on open spitting, urination and isolation for people suffering from flu, and cold. You will sometimes notice someone cough up phlegm, and spit in public, or sometimes while riding Okada. That is unhealthy.
Nurses are essentially involved in the fight against COVID-19, what has been your experience?
Nursing is a noble profession, but the challenges are enormous, including exposure to disease and pressure from patients and relations. However, the ethics of the job include calmness. When people react, it is the job of a nurse as a care giver to be patient and open.