Editor's Comment

Nurses vital cog in healthcare

FILE: STUDENT nurses in class at Kabwe School of Nursing and Midwifery. PICTURE: CHAMBO NGUNI

OVER the years, Government has made milestone strides in enhancing provision of health services to citizens.
Apart from the 650 health posts being constructed countrywide, Government is also upgrading some clinics into district hospitals.
Two Lusaka health centres in Matero and Chilenje have been upgraded to district hospitals with the help of Japan International Cooperation Agency.
Government is also upgrading some hospitals such as Levy Mwanawasa and Ndola Central into university teaching health institutions, while more district hospitals are being built in various parts of the country.
Using money from the Constituency Development Fund, donors and international humanitarian organisations such as World Vision, Lions and Rotary clubs, more health centres are being built.
This is being done to improve healthcare access by citizens and reduce congestion at the University Teaching Hospitals and other referral medical institutions, thereby allowing them to function as top transfer and educational hospitals.
Therefore, as Government rolls out healthcare facilities around the country, this entails employing more workers such as nurses, doctors and auxiliary staff.
This is how the country has found itself with a shortage of 20,000 nurses, who are the front-liners in healthcare delivery.
With Zambia developing at a fast rate, its health burden is also increasing and this places a premium on Government to recruit more health personnel, especially nurses.
As citizens begin to know their rights to medical treatment, they tend to consume more health services.
This is more so with HIV, which has increased the healthcare burden; so has diabetes, cancer and hypertension, among others.
Nurses play a crucial role in the country’s healthcare delivery system because they are both advocates and teachers.
They advocate for more health workers, equipment and drugs while at the same time counselling patients and administering treatment.
The high adult and infant mortality rates justify the need to arrest the indicators by having more nurses.
That is why Minister of Health Chitalu Chilufya is happy with the number of health workers who graduated from Kasama School of Nursing recently because they will enable Government to fulfil its mandate of strengthening health systems through robust human capital.
Dr Chilufya was speaking when he graced a graduation ceremony for 116 nurses, midwives and public health nurses.
The Ministry of Health has prioritised recruitment of health personnel for rural areas.
This is because it wants to be on top of the shortage of nurses in our health facilities by recruiting 30,000 health workers by 2021.
This will help cushion the shortage of nurses in public health facilities and enhance health service provision.
It is clear that Government is on the right path as far as health care delivery is concerned.
While Government is playing its role of constructing health facilities and upgrading others, citizens should also do their part by embracing positive lifestyles.
This includes exercising regularly and eating healthy foods.
Those on treatment should adhere to guidelines by health personnel.
For instance, people on anti-retroviral therapy should religiously adhere to the prescribed drugs while those on chemotherapy should abide by instructions from health specialists.
This way, the country is going to have a cadre of healthy citizens who are able to propel it to greater heights in terms of development.

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