Every year, May 12th marks International Nurses Day, which falls on the anniversary of the birth of the world’s most famous nurse, Florence Nightingale.
This International Nurses Day, The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ highlights the work of Ataata Taakenimwakin from Kiribati.
Ataata is a Diabetic Retinopathy Coordinator and a Senior Eye Nurse at the main hospital in Tarawa. As one of the most remote and dispersed places in the world, transportation and telecommunications in Kiribati are time-consuming, difficult and expensive.
“I am very grateful doing this job, to implement my skills and knowledge to my people to detect at early intervention to prevent permanent blindness to all diabetic cases in Kiribati.”
She says that she wants to work hard for the people of Kiribati, “I know Kiribati is one of high prevalence in diabetic cases in the Pacific and diabetic eye disease is one of the causes of blindness.”
With an estimated 28.1 percent of the population suffering from diabetes, Kiribati has a large number of people who need to be screened regularly for signs of diabetic eye disease and consequently requiring urgent treatment.
The Foundation aims to support incredible nurses like Ataata by ensuring the clinics they work in have up-to-date equipment, medicines, and supplies.
The Kiribati eye care team has been active in raising awareness of diabetic eye disease by training primary health carers throughout the country. This means that more patients are referred to the eye clinic, where an average of 100 diabetic patients are screened for signs of diabetic eye disease monthly.