Geneva, Switzerland; Durban, South Africa; 07 March 2018 - Seventeen nurses from seven African countries with a high burden of Tuberculosis/Multi-Drug Resistant Tuberculosis (TB/MDR-TB) took part in an International Council of Nurses (ICN) TB/MDR-TB Project workshop in Durban, South Africa to develop the capacity and skills of nurses working in TB to understand research and to be able to carry out a small research study in their setting.

Bringing together nurses from Ethiopia, Lesotho, Malawi, South Africa, Swaziland, Uganda and Zambia, the workshop was also the occasion of a launch event for the Nursing Now campaign, linking directly to the launch in London where Her Royal Highness Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge was present. Building the capacity and skills of nurses is a key aim of ICN and of the Nursing Now campaign.   Greeting the participants in London, Geneva and in other locations around the world, Thembeka Gwagwa, ICN’s Second Vice President and former General Secretary of DENOSA (Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa) said, “Nurses in Africa are watching and actively working hard to support the goals of Nursing Now.  Today we take our places at the heart of tackling 21st Century health challenges. Today, we are visible, vocal and valued. We are a voice to lead.”   

Alongside Ms. Gwagwa was Mr Simon Hlungwani, President of DENOSA; Dr Carrie Tudor, ICN TB/MDR-TB Project Director; Mr Justus Cheerop Kiplangat, President of the Ugandan Nurses and Midwives Union; Tafesse Bekele Worku President of the Ethiopian Nurses Association; Cassim Lekhoathi, DENOSA General Secretary; Kedibone Mdolo, DENOSA Projects Coordinator; Mandlezizwe David Shabangu, KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Secretary; and Dr Mosa Moshabela and Professor Gugu Mchunu from the University of KwaZulu-Natal School of Nursing and Public Health. 

The workshop was run by Dr Carrie Tudor, ICN TB/MDR-TB Project Director, along with Professor Petra Brysiewicz, from the School of Nursing & Public Health at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and nurse lecturers from South Africa, Rwanda, Nigeria and Lesotho.

Tuberculosis (TB) and multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) kill at least half a million people a year in Africa and leave hundreds of thousands unable to work or attend school, despite the fact that it is a curable disease.  African health ministers have announced a regional TB emergency due to a sharp rise in tuberculosis cases.  Africa is experiencing a dramatic increase due to TB co-infection with HIV/AIDS and the inability of struggling health systems to keep pace with diagnosis and treatment. Roughly 3 million nurses work or are registered in the 22 countries where 80% of TB cases are found.  In most of these countries nurses are the primary health care provider, and often the only source of care, though they often work in deficient systems, with poor access to adequate training, supplies and resources. 

When asked if they would recommend this type of training, one participant said “"Yes…It empowers one with information and knowledge on how to conduct research to add to the body of nursing knowledge." Another workshop participants from Lesotho said that what she liked best about the workshop was that it helped to allay “anxiety about research which I regarded as a monster."

A participant from Zambia added, “This training will enable research in other areas of nursing."  And a nurse from Swaziland said, "The training made me identify areas of knowledge deficit and need for improvement."

One participant from Malawi added that she would take this training back "I plan to include the topic in our leadership programme for the young female nurse leaders and shop stewards training workshops which we conduct as a way to strengthen and improve nursing practice." 

The ICN TB-MDR-TB Project aims to build global nursing capacity in the prevention, care and treatment of TB. This is achieved by training experienced nurses to cascade information to nursing colleagues and other health workers with the purpose of making improvements to patient care delivery. The practice-oriented nature of our training programme enables nurses to improve the implementation of policies and guidelines relating to TB and MDR-TB using a patient-centred approach. The ICN TB/MDR-TB Project has trained 2,224 nurses through the Training for Transformation (TFT) courses in 17 countries in Africa, Asia, and the Russian Federation since 2005. These nurses have in turn rolled out the training to more than 166,000 nurses, doctors, allied health workers and community members – which equates to each nurse training approximately 76 additional people.  The ICN TB Project is supported by a United Way Worldwide grant made possible by the generosity of the Lilly Foundation on behalf of the Lilly MDR-TB Partnership.

The International Council of Nurses (ICN) is a federation of more than 130 national nurses associations representing the millions of nurses worldwide. Operated by nurses and leading nursing internationally, ICN works to ensure quality care for all and sound health policies globally.

For further information contact Julie Clerget at:
Tel: +41 22 908 0100; Fax: +41 22 908 0101
ICN/PR2018 #7