Thursday, 18 May, 2017
Like many places in Africa, Zambia suffers from consistent underdevelopment. Every year approximately 59,000 women die in child birth. The HIV/AIDS epidemic significantly contributes to lower life expectancy, thus, lowering population growth rates, and at the same time raise infant mortality and death rates, in turn, changing the distribution of population by age and sex. The infant mortality rate is just over 70 for every 1,000 live births. To combat these significant challenges, more health care professionals, particularly nurses and midwives, are needed.
The Zambia Nurse and Life Skills Training Programme (ZNLTP) delivers an integrated and scalable programme and technology solution to Zambia that responds to demand for employment opportunities among the growing youth population, while expanding coverage of skilled health care professionals, especially to rural and remote locations across the country. The programme model includes four core activities: eLearning content adaptation and delivery, provision of eLearning center equipment and tools, scholarship support, and enhanced life skills training.
Developed to support the needs of the Zambian Ministry of Health, the project aligns with the Ministry of Health’s national health system priority of increasing the production of health care workers across Zambia. It also supports the Ministry’s target of reducing the population/nurse ratio from 1864 to 700.
ZNLTP employs eLearning technology, developed by Amref Health Africa, in the adaptation of the General Nursing Council of Zambia’s current nurse and midwife training curriculum. Through the use of this technology, elements of the nurse training programme are made virtual, creating an integrated program of eLearning and hands-on classroom instruction.
In September 2017, ZNLTP will have its first graduation, where 115 nurses will be released into the workforce. Amref Health Africa takes pride in the hard work and determination of these young nurses. A key achievement of the project is the declaration by the Ministry of Health of Zambia of the viability and applicability of the eLearning solution in the training of nurses. The Ministry also adopted Life-Skills training, which is a crucial part of ZNLTP, in the country’s nursing curriculum. Currently, all nursing students in Zambia, including regular students, take Life-Skills training.
The future of the use of eLearning for nurse training in Africa is bright. Countries such as Kenya have fully embraced the training of in-service nurses using the eLearning platform. Now, Zambia has achieved a milestone by being the first country in the continent to fully embrace the training of pre-service nurses using the Amref Health Africa eLearning innovation.
Michelle Dibo – Communications, Amref Health Africa