Our Volunteers: Claire Michalanney volunteering in Ethiopia

Bushulo Health CentreBushulo Health Centre

Bushulo Health Centre acts as a minor hospital for 3 kibeles (district/villages) around the town of Awasa, though in official government parlance it is only a health clinic.   Many of the patients are from Awasa town.  There are significant health needs in the area, including in nutrition, maternal health, malaria and HIV/AIDS.  The centre also provides education outreaches via local schools and has been involved in projects to increase sanitation and prevent disease.

A request was placed by the head doctors of Bushulo for a volunteer Senior Nurse to work building capacity of local nursing staff, including assisting some to reach the level needed for their Certificate of Competence.  There are many local staff (up to 25) who have been identified as potentially benefitting from the presence of a volunteer nurse. The benefits will then flow to the patients and the wider community as sustainable improvements are made to the health care available.

Claire Michalanney

Claire Michalanney, a nurse from Adelaide, commenced  work as Senior Nurse at Bushulo Health Centre in September 2011.

Claire brought many years of experience in a wide variety of nursing roles, including in leadership and administrative positions. She has traveled extensively and enjoys experiencing other cultures. She has been described in letters of recommendation as practical, down-to-earth, hospitable and delightful.

Bushulo Health Centre and Palms Australia found Claire well suited to the role. Claire completed her initial placement in December 2014 but has recently returned to Bushulo Health Centre to continue her work. If you wish to support Claire’s placement, please use the donation link on the right hand side of this web-page to contribute.

Supporting African Initiative

August 10, 2012

Fulvio and Wogeni fix a cabinet at Holy Family Care Centre, Bushulo, Ethiopia
Despite being the world’s second largest and second most populated continent, African news gains little traction in Australia. Occasionally stories break through, like the Egyptian, Libyan and Tunisian uprisings, or the hunt for Joseph Kony, but in most cases the stories told revolve around non-Africans.

Even we at Palms may be guilty of this occasionally, focussing necessarily on the contributions of our volunteers. Each field visit, though, provides the great privilege of meeting our partners and being reminded that our volunteers are only a tiny part of a long-term development story which is driven by Africans. It is a terrific reminder of what Palms Australia is all about – supporting local initiative.

Ofcolaco, South Africa

At Holy Family Care Centre in Ofcolaco, the OLSH sisters have established a home which provides safety for vulnerable children and opportunities to participate in education programs in the community and to prepare for life beyond the centre.

Our volunteers, Fran Hewitt and Carmel Lawry, have provided support and training to Gregory (teaching), Lily (creche), Olga and Sr Helena (health care) to build upon their existing skills. Fran and Carmel both pointed out that it was the dedication and skills of the local staff which kept the program going in the past and would continue it into the future.

Arusha, Tanzania

As in many tourist destinations, my first impression of Arusha was of hotels, billboards, tour groups and hawkers, but for the people who live here it is home – a place to live, study, work and play. While staying for a lamentably short time, I was lucky enough to bypass the facade and meet some of the people working to make Arusha a better place for Arushans.

Br Nkwabi, the principal of Edmund Rice Sinon School, explained the school’s transition program to assist students with English language education. The benefits of this program, facilitated by Kathy Brick, Eddie and Paul, flow on to every student and teacher in the school, improving outcomes at all levels.

At Kesho Leo, Jenny Ferris introduced me to Regina, Lucy and William, whom she is assisting with their teaching practice. These two teachers and librarian, respectively, provide early education and after hours tutoring to the children living around Kesho Leo.

Over the last few years, it has been our pleasure to know Fr Andrew Mutubusi AJ, a Ugandan priest working in Sydney. It was great to meet his fellow AJ fathers and visit their schools in Arusha and Moshi. Their warm hospitality and commitment to education throughout East Africa looks to be the basis of a strong partnership in future.

Bushulo, Ethiopia

Bushulo Health Centre employs over 25 local staff and provides health services to thousands of people around Awassa town. The staff I met, including doctors, administrators, nurses, phamarcists and handymen, were very happy to work with Claire Michalanney and Fulvio Fabreschi building capacity to deliver health care in Ethiopia.

Bushulo Health Centre

The Safe Motherhood outreach program has reduced the number of maternal deaths in the villages. My role has been to help improve the quality of nursing care in the hospital, assist with the management of pharmaceutical supplies and to provide support for the Administrator in the management of this complex range of services.

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Variety in volunteering

August 29, 2011

As a small nimble organisation, Palms is able to respond to different circumstances in a way that many larger NGOs may not. In recent years, we have been nothing if not innovative, with Encounters, Reverse Immersions, Fair Trade and three-way partnerships providing examples of innovative ways to complement our core work.

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Claire Michalanney's placement has completed, but you can still help us provide volunteers to many other communities by using the form below.

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As Claire Michalanney's volunteer placement has ended, your donation will be placed towards the costs of sending and supporting other Palms volunteers to exchange skills with our partner communities. For more information contact Palms Australia.

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Population: 85,237,338

Area: 1,104,300 sq. km.

Median Age: 16.9

Literacy: 42.7 %

Languages: Amharic, Oromo, Tigrinya, Somali

Ethiopia is a proudly independent country. One of the few African countries never colonised by Europeans, aside from a brief occupation by Italian forces prior to the second World War. The major religion is Ethiopian Orthodox, although a significant number of the population belong to Islam or the Protestant churches. Ethiopia’s most famous leader, Emperor […]

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