HIV nurses roll out their knowledge

21 May 2010 | Story by Newsroom

Primary care nurses Roll-out: Dr Pat Mayers shares her knowledge with nurses at the Mentorship Programme for Nurses in Primary Care in HIV/ART Management course at UCT recently.

UCT hosted a five-day HIV/ART mentorship programme for primary care nurses from 17 to 21 May. What makes the Mentorship Programme for Nurses in Primary Care in HIV/ART Management course stand out is that besides being taught the latest guidelines on the rollout of antiretroviral medication, they're encouraged to share this knowledge with their colleagues.

This means that the 43 nurses who have attended the two workshops, and who work closely with colleagues initiating antiretroviral and looking after HIV positive patients, are expected to mentor up to five other nurses. The organisers hope that 200 health workers country-wide will benefit in this way by the end of the year.

The programme is a joint venture between the Division of Nursing and Midwifery at UCT, the United States Agency for International Development, the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, and JHPIEGO, an international non-profit organisation that empowers front-line health workers.

Associate Professor Sinegugu Duma of the division explained: "Even if nurses get training, who is there to support them? Who cares for the carers? We provide training for a particular group to be able to care for those nurses who are in the rollout programme."

Her colleague Dr Pat Mayers said the "innovative and highly interactive" programme has the potential to boost the careers of the participating nurses (who mainly come from under-serviced provinces such Mpumalanga, Limpopo and the Eastern Cape), as the formal UCT module carries a 10-credit weighting.

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