Guest blogger Akpah Prince ‘konnected’ with the Florence Nightingale of Africa about her past, present and future.
At 27, Sara Nana Yeboah is a Social Entrepreneur, Corporate Nurse, Motivational Speaker and Wife. With her organisation, ‘Sangy Nursing Services,’ the versatile lady travels through Ghana and Africa, providing free health screenings, distributing free school uniforms, painting schools and equipping libraries, and spreading the message that good health is possible for all.
What’s currently on your plate?
SARA: At the moment I am a Critical Care Nurse at the Ridge Hospital’s medical emergency department, a writer, Speaker, wife, Singer; I run the Debaters Arena, and a whole lot more.
Sara the Social Entrepreneur?
SARA: As a kid I cared immensely about needy and sick people. My parents were Pastors with Assemblies of God Church and so I was often left to fend for my younger siblings. I learnt how to care for the sick and for people in general. Eventually, it became something I was passionate about and I made the decision to become a Nurse.
Working in the emergency department of Sunyani Regional Hospital gave me the opportunity to really help people especially the impecunious who could hardly afford the hospital fees.
Eventually I started my organisation called Sangy Nursing Services, and as I toured the country, I met whole families who could not afford proper medical care. We started registering children under the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to ameliorate the plight of these families.
SARA: It’s always been about the passion to do the job; in secondary school, I hoped to train as a Medical Doctor. I applied to the medical school in KNUST in Kumasi and was accepted but my parents could not afford the fees. Nursing was the next best alternative and I purposed to become one of the best nurses in the country.
God, my parents, my Pastor, Ms Hannah Tetteh and my husband are great sources of inspiration.
SARA: Funding for the project, vehicular movement, and sometimes, getting the right people to work with. I have employed Nurses I pay; I can’t employ more nurses because I don’t have the money. As most of my projects are capital intensive, I have to reserve a lot of money to be able to render these projects. And therefore even though a lot of people have expressed interest in participating in Sangy Nursing Services, I can’t take on Nurses and not pay them. My biggest fund is my brain and my ability. So I have to educate myself very well before I get to the community. So for now no financial losses, it’s my own salary, I strategize, and then use it for the people.
SARA: In 2013, we were nominated for an award, and enjoyed honourable mentions across the whole continent. Currently, we have opportunities to contribute to magazines across the continent; the latest among them is a magazine called Health Elite in Dubai. The future is bright and we have opportunities to spread our message through radio and television interviews.
Sangy Nursing Services undertakes health screenings and health talks. We hope to be able to put an end to the death of children and of those under the age of 35 by proper information and health practises. It is an achievement on its own and I am happy we have being able to get to the hearts of lots of people.
Do you think it is possible to rebuild the African health sector?
SARA: Africa has a long way to go, and we are thinking of going continental with our services -Kenya invited us in April to lay the foundation of our work-.
One country at a time, it is possible. Sangy Nursing Services is trying to put together a group of well-trained health workers to educate other health workers, who will in turn, educate people in the community, so that the pressure on the hospitals will decline. I think this is the way to go as a health organisation.
What are the future plans of Sangy Nursing Services?
SARA: To go global; to meet the health needs of people, that is our topmost priority. It is time for children and adults to be educated about their health, everybody should be involved . So in 2014, we are going to the doorstep of every individual from schools, kindergartens, primary, Junior High Schools and everywhere to educate them on health issues.
When and where were you born?
SARA: I was born in Germany on the 28th of February 1987 in Hanover to Ghanaian parents. I moved to Ghana when I was just five and have since resided in Ghana.
SARA: I started school at age four when both parents were working. I had my primary and Junior High School (JHS) in Saint Mary’s Preparatory School in Sunyani and attended SHS between 2002-2004 at Sunyani Senior High School. I enrolled myself in the Nursing Training College also in Sunyani.
Life apart from Sangy Nursing Services?
SARA: I wanted to further my education in 2013, but I had a little problem; I fell sick, I went for surgery, so I couldn’t go to school. I think my life now is basically revolving around what God wants me to do.
In 2013, I purposed as a Nurse to reduce the number of deaths and thank God we were able to reduce it to 25, for the whole year. I mean in a critical care ward that means that we did our homework well; we were researching a lot, we were putting things in place for our patients, and we were educating fellow nurses. This year what I am trying to do is to save more lives, increase my relationship with God, my fellow human beings, and form partnerships with organisations that would want our services and help our young ones build the Africa that we need together.
If you should be ranked by Forbes or Times magazine what do you think you will be recognized for?
SARA: I want to be recognized as the Florence Nightingale of Africa and a corporate Nurse who can do everything.
Inspire young Africans…
SARA: I believe that if you have a vision, that vision can be birthed if you have the passion. Passion is the most important drive to put vision into action. So you should keep on fighting, keep on thriving, derive inspiration from the right people, know what you want, don’t be swayed by anything, walk if you have to walk long distances, you don’t have to start acquiring wealth, cars and all that when you have to invest in your own business. With focus, determination and passion you will make it.
Original Transcript was submitted by Akpah Prince.