Nicole Fouda Mbarga

MSc Public Health GCU London 2015
GCU London Alumnus of the Year 2019

Epidemiologist and liaison officer for Covid19 project/ Assistant Medical Coordinator, Medecins Sans Frontieres, Operational Centre of Geneva, Cameroon

Nicole Fouda Mbarga 680_2

Tell us in more detail what your role entails, what challenges you currently face, and how you are finding ways to cope.

 At the beginning of the Covid19 epidemic, i participated in needs assessment and setting up MSF's response plan for the Covid19 epidemic in Cameroon. We are currently setting up a treatment centre for Covid19 as well as supporting other health structures nationwide to organize management of Covid19 patients and suspected cases. Now that all is set, i am focuding on epidemiology. I get to analyse epidemiological profiles of patients in our treatment site (disease distribution, risk factors, contact history etc). 

Challenges: Data collection entails spending time with patients while minimising risk of exposure. It is extremely challenging to get supplies of protective personal equipment in our treatment centre and this is a huge challenge globally. It is also tricky to deal with healthcare workers who are sometimes reluctant to take risks without assurance of having protection, which is fair enough. Lastly It is sometimes also scary to be at the frontline especially as it involves getting in contact with patients, other healthcare workers directly at the frontline and even stakeholders. 

To cope with those challenges, we considered local production of equipmemts as well as local purchase. We also have various trainings and we do quite of literature review to update ourselves and implement strategies proven effective to prevent and control the infection. We also have infection prevention and control specialist who trains the personnel.

Do you have a top tip for coping at a time of crisis? Or a few words of advice or support for fellow students and alumni on the front line?

A few tips for GCU heroes at the front line: get enough sleep when you can, have a balanced diet, relax when you can, talk to others, share your feelings and experience and most importantly protect yourself by wearing the protective equipment that is tailored to your healthcare procedure. Motivate yourself, say to yourself "History will remember me as a Covid19 hero".

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