Editor's Choice Features Health

Better cholera patient management – BOOK REVIEW

TITLE: Nursing Management of Cholera Patients in Zambia
AUTHOR: Dorothy Osigwe Chanda

IT can be an embarrassing ailment because it is associated with filth, especially during the rainy season.The dreaded cholera has for a long time haunted some communities in Zambia and claimed people’s lives in certain cases.
Like any threat or challenge, diarrhoea has prompted efforts such as studies to effectively fight it.
The 64-page book titled ‘Nursing Management of Cholera Patients in Zambia’ launchedin Lusaka recently is a handy volume on the resuscitation of dehydrated cholera patients.
In case you doubt the credibility and authenticity of the book’s contents, its author Dorothy Osigwe Chanda is a University of Zambia (UNZA) lecturer in Community Health Nursing in the Department of Nursing Sciences of the School of Medicine.
She ‘wields’ expertise as a renowned infection prevention nurse-practitioner and has devoted a major part of her professional career in practising infection prevention before joining UNZA.
Ms Chanda also participated in the formulation of national infection prevention policy and guidelines.
In the book’s forward, UNZA Dean of School of Medicine Yakub Mulla and Ministry of Health Directorate of Public Health and Research director Victor Mukonka, note that the ministry labours in its efforts to take cost–effective quality health care closer to the people.
“Hence, this teaching book has been written in response to the requirements of basic health care package. It seeks to build capacity of health care personnel in resuscitating and managing cholera patients in rural communities with inadequate health care personnel,” Professor Mulla and Dr Mukonka said.
It is envisaged that the book will be used at different levels of health care provision in the country.
Divided in four chapters, the book is timely because the Ministry of Health, in collaboration with cooperating partners, has started responding to human resource needs of the country.
This is being achieved through the introduction of a direct entry nurse training programme, making the book helpful for students to gain experience on resuscitating and managing cholera patients during their internship.
The book will act as a guide to all health care professionals on how to equip cholera centres and manage patients in different hospital units.
It is further envisioned that the knowledge and skills acquired from the book can contribute to reducing the morbidity and mortality rates of cholera patients through timely and effective resuscitation.
The Ministry of Health is confident that more health intellectuals and professionals will embark on the production of health learning materials contained in the book to ultimately help Zambia attain the Millennium Development Goals.
The author affirms that the book is a landmark text for all educators involved in teaching student nurses in clinical areas.
The book will significantly contribute to confidence-building in students in clinical practice and help raise the quality of health care provision.
It builds on other existing pamphlets written on personal hygiene practices and maintenance of environmental sanitation.
The terse volume book also describes the handling of choler patients in various hospitals to prevent nosocomial infections.
No socomial infection is one whose development is favoured by a hospital environment.
“All health care professionals are required to be very proficient in resuscitating dehydrated patients due to the public’s higher expectations as a result of the cost sharing schemes that are now in place.
“The health care consumers now expect quality care worth their worth. This book will guide the newly qualified health care practitioner to acquire the knowledge on choosing the right intravenous cannulae for resuscitating a dehydrated patient,” the author states.
The primary target group includes all experienced health personnel and clinicians who care for cholera patients in various health centres in the country.
The secondary target group are the nurse preceptors/clinical tutors, nurse educators, infection prevention focal point persons and liaison personnel who will be doing the knowledge transfer to students both in classrooms and clinical settings.
In chapter one, the book deals with the origin and magnitude of cholera in Zambia which justifies its documentation to demonstrate the urgency needed for target groups to meet the objectives of the book.
It further expands on the micro-organisms which cause cholera, its signs and symptoms as well as the modes of transmission.
Chapter two of the book focuses on diagnosing cholera using the nursing process and unfolds a nursing care plan for the patient.
It also lists the medical and nursing care items required in setting up cholera units in affected areas.
The third chapter discusses the prophylaxis and treatment of cholera patients, describes the signs and symptoms of the disease as well as the onset of dehydration and its progression.
It provides a guide to setting up intravenous infusions in cholera patients and the rehydration therapy and subsequent feeding of the patients.
The book’s final chapter describes the policy and guidelines for handling cholera patients in various hospitals and record keeping during cholera outbreaks.
Although it takes a reactive approach to the fight against cholera, the book can help reduce morbidity and mortality rates due to cholera through the implementation of cholera preparedness modalities by district health management boards well before the onset of the rainy season.

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