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W.H.O. calls for the recognition of nurses

Limpho Sello

THE World Health Organisation (WHO) has called upon the government, communities and other stakeholders to fully recognise the nurses’ passionate commitment to patient and family centred healthcare in the country.

WHO Country Representative Richard Banda said this during the recent launch of the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife at the Health ministry’s headquarters in Maseru.

The International Year of the Nurse and Midwife 2020 has been declared by the World Health Assembly. The celebration offers a platform to recognise nurses and midwives past and present, raise visibility of the nursing profession in policy dialogue and invest in the development and increased capacity of the nursing workforce.

Dr Banda said during this period it is incumbent upon all the organisations to acknowledge and address the challenging conditions nurses and midwives face while providing vital health services.

“It is time to allow nurses to practice to the full extent of their education and training and to ensure that institutional obstacles that limit nurses’ scope of practice, are eliminated so that health systems can reap the full benefit of their training, skills and knowledge,” said Dr Banda.

“Despite all the challenges, nurses and midwives keep on working, keep on managing patients, putting their own lives at risk, sometimes falling victims to the very illnesses they try to fight,” added Dr Banda.

On his part, Health Minister Nkaku Kabi said it was high time nurses were appreciated for being pillars of the country’s health system.

Mr Kabi said they will soon begin consultative meetings with different stakeholders including nurses to find ways of improving the health delivery system.

“Sometime ago, I had a conversation with a health professional on the who told me about some of the challenges they have been facing, saying the problem is that the protocol even hinders them from reaching me as their minister.

“So, I raised this issue to my colleagues and (Health Director General) Dr Nyane Letsie promised that within two weeks we shall start meetings which will be a simple platform to hear some of the nurses’ challenges.”

He also bemoaned the serious shortage of nurses, saying they need to hire at least 3000 more nurses to ensure efficient health care services.

“You need to believe me when I say that even though we do not always come to your work stations, we know the burden on your shoulders due to lack of human resources.

“When we ask for 3000 nurses, we are only allowed to take in 200 nurses and that is a huge gap from what is needed.

“It is very frustrating to hear a nurse share her story that she works alone in a clinic and at times when she is helping a mother to deliver her baby, a patient will come in with a bad knife-stabbing injury or an accident urgently needing assistance. That becomes a challenge when the nurse does not know how to divide herself between the two situations as both lives need to be saved,” said Mr Kabi.

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