Angjelo’s story

Angjelo was born in Lugë të Bunarit in the city of Gjakova on the 2nd of June 2020 via a C-section. After his birth, his mother, a 24-year-old first-time mother, along with her husband, visited their local Family Medicine Center. The attending nurse, Adelina Puka, exchanged contact information with the mother, informing her on the Home Visits program, and promised her a visit next week.

Due to Covid-19, the Home Visits program ceased some of its activities, however during the period of April – May, 1837 virtual visits (mainly over the telephone) were conducted.
Due to the importance of this case, the nurse decided to visit the family even in the pandemic state.
The nurse made the first visit on the 5th of June, 3 days after Angjelo’s birth. During this time, the mother was struggling with breastfeeding, and the nurse noticed that Angjelo had come down with jaundice. During the home visit, the nurse demonstrated to the mother how to breastfeed, helping her surpass this challenge as well as helping the mother by advising her on how to pull milk out of her breast with a syringe. Furthermore, the mother was advised on giving BCG to her infant. After noticing Angjelo was struggling with jaundice, the nurse advised the mother that she let her son be exposed to sunlight by lying in front of direct sunlight as it helps reduce the symptoms. The nurse also measured the baby’s head, height and weight – all of which resulted within normal parameters.

The mother and her partner live along with her in-laws, in extremely difficult financial conditions. However, she has a very supportive family network who help and aid her in caring for her son at any time. The nurse, having seen the difficult financial conditions, reported the case as a social case in order to seek help for this young family. Additionally, the nurse delivered a UNICEF hygienic care package to the mother, helping them through the difficulties that have only been increased by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The mother’s emotional state was a case of worry for the nurse, having noticed her struggling with anxiety due to the worrying issues of the pandemic. The nurse calmly advises the mother on how to deal with the pandemic until the situation normalizes, as well as helping her deal with the emotional stress of her birth and the subsequent issues it may bring. The nurse did this through keeping constant contact with the mother, being there for her for any and every need she needs surrounding her son’s health in addition to her own. The mother conveyed to the nurse that the constant contact, support, and advice she received immensely helped her in easing her anxiety and orienting her to provide the best possible care for her infant.
When asked about the home visit, the mother of Angjelo had this to say:
”I’m incredibly grateful to the nurse for approaching me by herself, coming to visit me and my son, and giving me a sense of comfort and reassurance with her calm and loving approach, as well as answering all my questions and checking up on my son. I was very distressed and she has managed to calm me so well. Thank you to UNICEF, AMC and especially, my nurse Adelina.”
The second visit was conducted on 11th of June. Angjelo’s jaundice had subsided by this time, and the mother seemed to be feeling a lot calmer. The nurse continues to be in constant contact with the mother, answering any questions she might have, and supporting her through the early days in the long journey of being a mother.

The nurse, Adelina Puka when asked about the difficulties presented by this case, said that:
”Due to the pandemic situation, it was very difficult to approach the parents and suggest a visit. I’m very happy I managed to conduct a visit, and reassure the mother that her son is doing well, and that the initial difficulties of a birth will subside with time, as well as being able to provide them with a care package. I am in constant contact with the mother, and have created a bond with her that will hopefully help lead her during the first few months of parenting.”

‘Home Visits’ is a program of the Ministry of Health, supported by UNICEF with the Funds from the Government of Luxembourg. It is implemented by Action for Mothers and Children, aiming at providing home-based services in Kosovo municipalities as an approach to further improve the health and well-being of children by building trust between nurses and the community for a better family medicine system. Home visits help families identify new born problems, including signs of illness and at the same time support the practices of breastfeeding, vaccinations, by also contributing to the child’s growth and development in order to achieve the full potential of the child. With the home visiting programme, our overall goal is to increase the knowledge of health professionals, pregnant women and parents in antenatal care, postpartum care, postnatal depression and early childhood development.

During the period of January – May 2020, 4625 home visits were conducted. 3726 child visits and 899 visits for pregnant women. Home visits during the pandemic period were conducted over the phone.