Funding ensures nurses get dermatology training

28 February 2005

Helping hand: (From left) Dennis Ablett, the director of corporate affairs and communications at Novartis, hands over a cheque to UCT's Pat Kelly (dermatology) and Assoc Prof Sheila Clow (nursing and midwifery). Longstanding supporters of the programme, the Lions Head Rotary Club also attended the function and handed over the final instalment of their funding.

Dermatology nurse training has received a welcome boost thanks to funding from pharmaceutical company Novartis.

Novartis handed over a cheque to UCT's Department of Dermatology and the Division of Nursing and Midwifery to support the training of community-based nurses.

"The long-term vision is that these nurses continue to work in the community and establish day-care centres," explained Associate Professor Sheila Clow, deputy head of the Division of Nursing and Midwifery. "Patients can attend these centres thus alleviating the current reliance on secondary and tertiary hospitals."

Rather than train nurses as dermatologists, the course aims to provide a working knowledge of basic dermatology and includes diagnostic training, and practical management and treatment skills for common skin disorders.

According to Clow, who is also the programme convenor, skin disease is the reason for initial presentation in 14% of patients consulting a primary care doctor in general practice and 21% in the public sector in South Africa.

"Yet current dermatology services in the primary setting are rudimentary or non-existent," she said. "For a population of 42 million, there are only 132 dermatologists registered with the South African Medical and Dental Council. And less than 10% of them serve the approximately 80% of the population that constitutes the public sector."

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Please view the republishing articles page for more information.