CAMFED Association member, nurse and entrepreneur, Ghana

I’m Juliana from Ghana. My journey to education has been challenging, but today I am a qualified nurse—dedicated to improving healthcare in my community. 

I come from a family of seven, with parents who worked as farmers, in the North East Region of Ghana. I completed primary school in 2009 and proceeded to junior high school. I excelled in my schoolwork, and was awarded the best female Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) student in my district in March 2010. 

Despite this, my journey through education was a challenging one. My parents struggled to pay my fees and provide my other school essentials. It was only with the support of CAMFED that I could make it through senior high school. There, because of my excellent academic performance in Home Sciences, I earned my position as Girls’ Prefect.

I then won admission to Central University to study Nursing with CAMFED’s support. I was proud to serve as Campus Chapter Vice President of Mastercard Foundation Scholars for the 2017/2018 academic year.

Through my experiences at university and as a member of the CAMFED Association of women leaders, I developed my passion to support rural women to become empowered. I see many women who haven’t had the education, training, or support to sustain their own livelihoods.

I decided to start a business in my community to employ women, helping them earn an income and support their families.

I founded the Sumwaana Shea Butter Processing and Marketing Co-operative, where I am CEO and President. It’s a social enterprise that focuses on shea butter processing and then adding value to the shea butter to produce hair and body products as well as baby creams. I work with more than 100 women in Nalerigu and its neighboring villages with the vision of enhancing their livelihoods by employing them in shea butter production. 

Juliana Atanga, CAMFED Association member and shea butter entrepreneur, Ghana

Left: Myself and an employee process the shea butter. Right: A group of women employees process the raw shea nuts. Top image: Proudly wearing my nurses uniform. (Photo credit: NISSI GRAPHIX Photography)

I am also employed as a Nursing Officer at the Baptist Medical Center at Nalerigu. Growing up, I didn’t have a career mentor but I had admired smart nurses and always wanted to help patients to deal with physical and emotional pain and also provide comfort to worried families and loved ones. Hence, my decision to be a nurse so I can support the sick, advocate for health promotion, education and prevention of injury and illnesses.

The day I delivered a baby on the roadside

As a Nursing Officer l have learnt to be brave and resourceful when duty calls unexpectedly. On my way from Tamale to Nalerigu in the late hours of Tuesday, July 12, 2022, a pregnant young woman I was traveling with in a public transport stopped the bus driver and said she wanted to use the toilet. As she got down from the bus and walked down, I suspected she could be in labor and if so, anything could happen to the baby, mother, or both. 

As other passengers were waiting for her to come back, I was curious to go and check on her so I requested tissues from other passengers in the bus. My intention was to give it to her if I get there and it’s not labor so she can clean up. Upon reaching her, my suspicions were right – the young woman was in labor. I came back to the bus for polythene bags and informed the other passengers of the situation. I improvised with the help of other passengers to support her to have a safe delivery. 

The baby did not cry nor show a sign of breath when it came out. I massaged it with all the techniques I learned in school and what I saw in the maternity ward when I was an intern. The baby responded after about one to two minutes. The mother’s clots were expelled, and she dressed up. Both mother and baby were checked at the hospital, and they were fit and required no admission. The baby cord was then clamped with the appropriate clamps, and they went back home. The baby was named on July 24, 2022.

Juliana Atanga, CAMFED Association member delivers a baby in Ghana

Left: Here I am on the bus travelling from Tamale to Nalerigu where the pregnant mother went into labor. Right: Holding the baby girl safely delivered. (Photo Credit: Juliana Atanga)

I was motivated to help her deliver safely because of my love for rural women and children and to protect the prestige of my noble profession although I was not a midwife.

Unlike me, this was a young woman who did not have the opportunity to be educated to know that she should not travel at that stage of her pregnancy. These are some of the reasons why I seek and always support children to go to school to be educated. I provide students with their fees, educational materials and other essentials – like stationery, menstrual supplies, and sandals – to help them stay in school. 

I have been able to save part of my monthly salary to construct a shea butter processing center that benefits the youth and women in my community. I am also able to support myself and my family financially.

Because I am a CAMFED Association member, I believe in the power of giving back to my society. I always educate school children on courses they can take to help them become good nurses and the professionals they want to be.

After introducing myself to them as a Nursing Officer, a lot of them always get inspired to become nurses in the future just like me.

I would like to establish a maternity home in my community where pregnant women will have access to proper maternal care, education, and advice before and during pregnancy, as well as after childbirth to help reduce the maternal mortality rate in our country. I am also planning to build a science library where students can get first-hand access to information related to science courses, so it’s easier for them to study STEM courses. 

I hope to further my education and specialize in women’s health and reproduction so that I can help solve women’s reproductive challenges. As an entrepreneur, I aspire to become one of the largest producers of quality shea butter and shea-based cosmetics in Africa.

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CAMFED Association nurse safely delivers baby at roadside

CAMFED Association member and trained nurse Juliana didn’t hesitate to act when a fellow bus passenger went into labor. 




I chose to study Nursing and Midwifery at Kamuzu University of Health Sciences because I want a career where I will be able to serve human needs. A career in health means I will be able to help save people’s lives.

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