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The number of nurses in Mozambique, at 12,608, is well below the figure recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO), according to Olga Novela, head of the Nursing Department in the Ministry of Health.
WHO recommends a minimum ration of 10 nurses per 10,000 inhabitants. In Mozambique the ratio is 4.6 per 10,000 inhabitants.
Addressing a meeting in Maputo on Thursday, entitled “Reflection on Nursing in Mozambique: from Reality to the future challenges”, Novela said that the small number of nurses causes constraints in caring for patients. In most cases, overworked nurses simply hand out medicines, without analyzing the overall status of the patient.
“The great concerns we are bringing to this meeting”, she said, “concern the need to improve not only the quality of the care given to patients, but also the life and professional career of the nurses”.
She recognized that there is growing dissatisfaction among patients, and that some nurses display a lack of human tact and empathy with the people they are supposed to be caring for.
It was common, she said, for a sick person to enter a health unit and find just one nurse on duty, trying to cater for all patients, regardless of how serious their illness, and working alone for hour after hour. This dramatic shortage of staff leads to delays in attending to patients’ needs, and, in extreme cases, to their deaths.
Increasing the number of nurses would be part of the solution, said Novela, but she stressed there must also be a qualitative improvement, to guarantee the welcoming environment that citizens need every time they are admitted to a health unit.
Currently Mozambique has one training college for nurses in each of the 11 provinces. They train slightly more than 300 nurses a year, which is well below the requirements.
The mid-level nursing course lasts for two years and the basic course for 18 months. One chronic problem is that many people trained as nurses abandon nursing as a career to seek other professional options.Source: AIM
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