An international friendship through dialysis

Last winter, a dialysis nurse from Namibia visited the NephroCare center in Kladno. Unusual connections led to this exotic visit. Saima tells her story and how she went to medical school in Czechia.

It was a welcome diversion for the staff of Fresenius NephroCare v Kladně when nurse Saima from Namibia came to visit. She wanted to meet with her friend Fata as they had both studied nursing in the Czech Republic. Fata originates from Senegal and now works as a dialysis nurse at the peritoneal dialysis outpatient clinic in Strahov. The two friends were thrilled about the reunion. Saima was also interested to see how dialysis centers are organised in other countries. The staff in Kladno was happy to show her around and have an animated exchange of experiences. Together, they went through the materials and devices, as Saima was interested even in small details of the treatment process.

Saima’s story

Saima (45) was born into a family with four siblings in Elim, a small village in Namibia. Her mother was headmaster at the local elementary school. She knew from a young age that she wanted to work in health service and claims herself influenced by her aunt, who was a nurse. Shortly after starting high school, a war broke out in Namibia. Saima and a friend of hers had to flee to Angola at the age of 16. She remembers the hardships well: “It was horrible. We walked and walked, on some days without food,
without almost any water, but there was no other option for us.” She stayed in Angola for two years before she became the opportunity to go to medical school on a Czech scholarship. The time in Angola changed her life.

When she arrived in the Czech Republic in 1989 without any knowledge of Czech, she participated in an initial six-month language preparation course. Afterwards, she was sent to Turnov, where she attended the General Medical School for four years. During this time she met her friend Fata. As Saima wanted to stay in the Czech Republic after high school, she went to college in Budweis. But then her father became ill and she had to go home to support her family.

Life in Namibia

In Namibia, Saima worked as a nurse and further specialised by studying for her bachelor degree. Today, she works as a nurse for Fresenius Medical Care in the capital of Windhoek. She likes working as a dialysis nurse but also sees the challenges: “The work comes with great responsibility because there are a lot of patients in Namibia and a lack of doctors. For this reason, nurses have to make many decisions and handle a lot of difficult situations.” Saima is happy to be educated in nephrology and to share her experience and knowledge with both patients and younger colleagues .Helping people is essential to her; she enjoys it and admits that the stories of patients always catch her heart.

Your colleagues in the Czech Republic will be glad to welcome you back, Saima. All the best for you and thank you for your commitment!

Namibia at a glance:

  • The country gets its name from the Namib Desert – one of the world’s oldest deserts.
  • Namibia is the second least densely populated country in the world with just 3.2 people per km2.
  • Its capital and largest city is Windhoek.
  • Namibia was a German colony before it was captured by South Africa in World War I. It was granted independence on March 21st, 1990.
  • The country has some of the highest sand dunes in the world.