Editor's Comment

Grow cadre of nurses

THE need to have more public health nurses is now more necessary than before in view of the ever growing population which has resulted in some public health challenges.
Every so often, Lusaka and other parts of the country are beset by epidemics which require massive and appropriate response to combat them.
Without belabouring the point, two years ago, the nation saw the spread of cholera from town to town, leaving behind casualties, some of whom lost their lives to the epidemic.
With such public health challenges, it is important that the number of public health nurses increases so that their expertise is directed towards preventing epidemics which affect the health of individuals.
Last Friday, President Edgar Lungu called for the introduction of a public health nursing programme in nursing colleges to complement Government’s efforts to enhance human capital in the health sector.
The President was speaking when he opened St Joseph College of Nursing and Midwifery in Lumezi last Friday.
He said the public health nursing programme will contribute to achieving one of the Patriotic Front’s (PF) goals which requires Government to recruit 30,000 healthcare workers by 2021.
The PF Government has pledged to deliver quality healthcare to citizens and one of the avenues through which the ideal can be achieved is by developing and improving human capital.
In doing this, Government works with various partners, like in this case, the Catholic Church, which runs the newly opened St Joseph College of Nursing and Midwifery, where the President directed Minister of Health Chitalu Chilufya to ensure that management introduces a public health nursing programme soon to complement Government’s efforts to enhance human capital in the health sector.
In its quest to fulfil its pledge, Government has targeted to recruit 30,000 healthcare givers by 2021.
In recruiting health workers, just like other professionals, Government picks from both its own institutions and those trained by private colleges or universities.
Government does this out of a recognition that the private sector complements its efforts in the development of human capital and that is why it works closely with such partners.
The expansion of the health sector being carried out through the construction of health facilities and the upgrading of hospitals requires an increasing number of healthcare providers to take up positions in these institutions and bring healthcare as close to the people as possible.
It is said, and correctly so, that prevention is better than cure. For this reason, the public healthcare nurses are critical to the combating of diseases before they mutate into epidemics which would require huge amounts of funding to eradicate.
Most of the health challenges that our communities experience can be prevented with the help of public health nurses who are trained to combine their clinical knowledge of health, illnesses and experiences of individuals with community involvement.
In this way, they form an integral link between health planners and policy-makers which is essential in the delivery of healthcare.
The directive is therefore a challenge for all colleges to undertake and produce a cadre of staff that will help Government in quality healthcare delivery.
This challenge is for those that not only know that healthcare must be delivered but also that the onus is on them to do something about it.
The effort is for all to attain sustainable development goals number 3 and number 6.

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