Nurses Helping Nurses in Binga

“A few months ago, I was at a MATTER event where they were highlighting some of the projects in Zimbabwe, one of which was the Jeannie Burns Buckner Maternity and Pediatric Hospital in Binga. As someone who works in healthcare and a mother myself, this initiative really moved me. Hearing that the primary caregivers, the amazing nurses, need housing because they are required to stay there due to the remote location got me thinking…”

Speaking recently to a group of nurses was Sarai Charai, System Director of Supply Chain Operations for Allina Health and a MATTER Board Member. She was sharing how she got the idea to start the Nurses Helping Nurses campaign as part of this year’s National Nurses Month.

Jeannie Burns Buckner, center, with nurses Chelsey, left and Fortune, right in Binga, Zimbabwe.

The Jeannie Burns Buckner Maternity and Pediatric Hospital opened last year and is the first healthcare facility in the remote area of Binga. For the 40,000 people in this vast community, it’s a game-changer. Already, over 140 babies have been born there and hundreds of patients have received care for illnesses, injuries, and all sorts of other medical needs, many of which would have been fatal if not for the care they received at the new hospital.

Responsible for treating the patients and delivering the babies are Chelesani (Chelsey) and Fortunate (Fortune), the hospital’s nurses. Despite the many challenges they face working in such a remote location, they’ve not wavered in their dedication to the hospital and its patients. For Chelsey, this is about more than just her work. She’s righting a wrong. Watching her father die needlessly from lack of good healthcare changed the trajectory of her life. She went to nursing school and determined in her heart that no patient she cares for will die unnecessarily as her father did.

“No one should have to suffer from poor care like he did. Everyone deserves to be treated with the best healthcare possible. I’m doing my level best to provide that to the people in Binga.”

One of the many unique challenges that Chelsey and Fortune face is the need for housing while they work at the hospital. Already a doctors’ quarters and a mothers’ quarters have been built. Now it’s time for the nurses to have their own quarters. Their own place to relax after a long day or an extra long night tending to their patients. 

And that’s why Sarah started the Nurses Helping Nurse campaign.

Chelsey, right, with a patient at the Jeannie Burns Buckner Maternity and Pediatric Hospital in Binga, Zimbabwe.

“How cool would it be if the nurses from Minnesota and the surrounding states helped to raise the funds needed to support their peers at this hospital in Zimbabwe by fundraising for the nurses’ quarters? Nurses supporting nurses. Working together, this seems to me like a project we can really make happen. A feel-good, impactful project fitting for May, National Nurses Month.”

Chelsey and Fortune are looking forward to having their own housing. “The nurses’ quarters will give us peace of mind,” said Chelsey. “This will help us better care for our patients to be sure they are getting the care they deserve.”

With the exterior construction already completed and the eight bedrooms already sponsored, the campaign is raising $35,000 for the bathrooms, kitchen, and living area to complete the housing unit.

“This is very doable,” said Sarah. “At the heart of all nurses is the desire to help people. And it’s especially meaningful to be able to help our colleagues on the other side of the world. It’s important we let them know they matter. I know we can do it!”

Please consider supporting this worthy cause. Help us complete housing for these dedicated nurses as they provide dignified healthcare to the people of Binga. Go here to learn more.