‘They all died on the same day’: a Benin physician on her battle towards COVID-19

‘They all died on the same day’: a Benin doctor on her fight against COVID-19


A physician in Benin has been telling the UN concerning the difficult conversations she has had with the kinfolk of sufferers who’ve died from COVID-19, and the way she has used her lengthy medical expertise to successfully lead a workforce of well being care staff.

“The most painful moment in managing this crisis was in June 2020 when I had three severe cases of COVID-19. They all died on the same day.”

Dr. Rokhiatou Babio is among the few girls in Benin to steer a medical workforce on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic, work which is supported by the United Nations within the north-east of the West African nation. She recounts the surprising expertise on that sombre and merciless day, a month into her new job.

© Hermès Amoussouvi

Under the supervision of Dr. Babio (centre), volunteers follow caring for COVID-19 sufferers.

“One of the three patients practically died in my arms”.

She falls right into a deep silence after which continues. “You have to deal with the relatives after the deaths. The hardest part for them was not being able to take the mortal remains of their loved ones with them. It is difficult to convince them, even with the support of a psychologist”. 

Dr. Babio is a normal practitioner on the emergency division of the University Hospital of Borgou. She additionally supervises a workforce of 40 medical employees on the COVID-19 care centre of the Borgou Army Instruction Hospital, which admits coronavirus sufferers from 5 of Benin’s 12 departments – Atacora, Borgou, Alibori, Donga and Collines.

As an knowledgeable with an extended expertise of medical emergency and epidemic care, Dr. Babio has managed 4 well being crises in her profession. Faced with the COVID-19 pandemic, she says she was shortly capable of encourage confidence in different “less experienced” workforce members.

“As soon as I took on this task, my goal was to save the lives of patients while protecting health care workers, most of whom had never managed an epidemic before. It was, therefore, necessary from the first days to establish a climate of confidence and make them want to manage COVID-19 patients,” she says.

Dr. Babio divided her employees into three multi-disciplinary, groups made up of women and men. To get one of the best out of every of them, she listened to points from all employees members, each skilled and private.

“Each colleague has my number and can contact me at any time to voice their concerns. This lowers staff stress levels and ensures good management of the epidemic”, she provides.

© Aboudou Souleymane

Dr. Babio (left) and Dr. Amoussouvi put together to make their ward rounds.

In Benin some persons are shocked to see a lady on the helm of the emergency division, extra in order the COVID-19 case administration coordinator. But she says she’s the best particular person for the job.

“Since 2016, I have been managing epidemics of viral hemorrhagic fevers in Lassa and my competence has been recognized at the international level,” she says.

The physician stresses that girls are good at managing conflicts. “We are first and foremost mothers and, therefore, born to show empathy”.

Her colleague, Dr. Hermès Melvis Amoussouvi, a normal practitioner, agrees. He acknowledges that management is “genderless”.

“A leader should be able to inspire both women and men. But it is important, and it is increasingly noticeable, that women realize their capacity to do as much or even better than men. Women have their own potential, and we must embrace it,” Dr. Amoussouvi mentioned.

The UN nation workforce in Benin is working intently with the federal government to facilitate girls’s integration in all sectors of society, together with in drugs.

United Nations

“We cannot build the future we want and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) without the full participation of all stakeholders in society, especially women,” says Salvator Niyonzima, who, as Resident Coordinator, is essentially the most senior UN official in Benin.

He emphasizes the importance of the promotion of gender equality and girls’s rights in a broader social context. “Gender equality, enshrined in SDG 5, is often measured by the existence of a legal framework to promote, enforce and monitor the application of the principles around non-discrimination based on sex.”

Dr. Babio says she’s decided to do her greatest for her sufferers. “What a pleasure to see our patients getting better. I feel re-energized when they are grateful for our support. Yes, we save human lives”.

Her competence is effectively acknowledged by her friends and sufferers. “I take my hat off to this very dynamic team under the leadership of a rigorous and methodical woman,” explains Ms. Hermine Fatoumbi, a affected person who has simply recovered from COVID-19.

The UN COVID-19 response in Benin

  • Since the primary case of COVID-19 was declared in Benin in March 2020, the centre managed by Dr. Babio has registered 117 coronavirus sufferers. By the top of February 2021, the nation had confirmed 5,634 cases and reported 70 deaths.
  • Under the management of the Resident Coordinator, the UN businesses and different companions have been focusing their efforts on the battle towards COVID-19, providing the federal government a variety of help, together with important supplies, medical gear, finance, psychology and capability constructing.
  • The help allows the well being care workforce to successfully handle the remedy of COVID-19 circumstances together with the extra vital ones which can require difficult interventions.

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