Clare Komugisha, the Research Supervisor at Walimu in Uganda, is the recipient of the Erin’s Campaign for Kids Nursing Award in the category of International Pediatric Nurse.
Since 2012, Komugisha has worked with the Smart Discharges Team to develop, validate, and implement risk stratification, educational, and referral-based intervention methods for reducing post-discharge mortality in children in Uganda. In Uganda, more children die after being discharged from a hospital following treatment for sepsis than during their stay in the hospital. As part of the Smart Discharges Team, Komugisha has helped bring attention to the under-recognized issue of post-discharge mortality in children and developed tools that nurses, and other frontline healthcare workers use to save lives. She was initially involved in the study as a research nurse, enrolling eligible children into the study and providing counseling and referral forms to children’s caregivers upon discharge, before being promoted to Research Nurse Supervisor in 2017.
“As a Research Nurse Supervisor, I was responsible for training and mentoring project nurses to correctly identify and treat children with sepsis and to educate their caregivers on how to best care for their sick child, with a particular focus on reducing deaths after discharge among children recovering from sepsis.”
Recently, Komugisha began working as the Research Supervisor at Walimu, the Ugandan NGO that implements the Smart Discharges Programming. In this role, she’s supporting the Smart Discharges Program as it expands across the country, as well as developing new tools for reducing death related to sepsis, including the Smart Triage. Additionally, the nursing team that Komugisha trained and mentored is on the frontline of managing children with sepsis.
“While the pandemic resulted in a national lockdown in Uganda, the Smart Discharges team has provided us with appropriate protective equipment and private transport, so that we can continue providing critical care for children at our hospitals. This is incredibly important for our community, because the current ban on public transport means that many of the regular ward nurses are unable to reach the hospital. As a result, my team is providing the initial treatment and general patient care for children with sepsis, as well as post-discharge care.”
Komugisha plans to use this award to help pay tuition fees for a master’s degree in public health. With this degree, she hopes to gain new skills in program evaluation and research, so that she can play an even greater leadership role in developing interventions that improve care for children suffering from sepsis.