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The new classroom. Photo: Hildegunn Tobiassen/RNEThe new classroom. Photo: Hildegunn Tobiassen/RNE

“Do not worry about hyenas in the night”. Classroom and student hostels soon to be inaugurated at Nkhoma College of Nursing

Last updated: 05.04.2016 // The Norwegian Embassy finances “The Human Resources for Health Program”, amounting to NOK 132 million for the period 2013-2018. It is implemented in a collaboration with the Ministry of Health and the Clinton Health Access Initiative, Inc. (CHAI). On 1st April, the Embassy visited Nkoma College of Nursing to look at progress related to the program.

In Malawi, the lack of skilled birth attendants contributes to high rates of preventable deaths among mothers and newborns every year. The project aims to increase the availability of skilled health workers in order to improve mother and child health and family planning services. The Ministry of Health, CHAI, and the Royal Norwegian Embassy have partnered with nine teaching institutions around the country. Nkhoma College of Nursing is one of them.

Nkhoma College of Nursing is located in Lilongwe District and is a member of a church network, the Christian Health Association of Malawi (CHAM). The college is beautifully located with splendid views over surrounding mountains. Together with CHAI and college management, the Embassy visited the newly constructed student classroom (accommodates 70 students) and student hostel (for 80 students) built under the program as part of the efforts to increase the college’s teaching capacity.

Being right next to the mountain, security had to be addressed so that students did not have to worry about wild animals when using dorm facilities after dark. The new buildings follow the landscape and are given the same style as the rest of the existing buildings at the college. Construction of several of the existing buildings were also supported by the Embassy through a long-standing cooperation with Norwegian Church Aid to strengthen CHAM nurses’ colleges, where also Norwegian nurses’ colleges have been involved to provide technical input.

The college has made efforts to increase the number of students. Intake has increased from 90 in 2013 to 180 in 2015 according to the Principal. The program is directly supporting the training of 90 nurse midwife technicians  and 60 community midwife assistants at the college. The students are supported with tuition fees, uniforms, nurses’ starter packs, Hepatitis B vaccines, licensure examination fees, clinical instruction, and supervision support. The project further procured a 32-seater bus and a 16 seater minibus to facilitate students’ practicum access. However, the college faces budgetary challenges connected to inflation, and in the future there may be less students receiving government scholarships. Such challenges will have to be taken into consideration in the coming mid-term review of the program.

At the end of the “the Human Resources for Health Program”,  725 nurse midwife technicians and 30 registered nurses to act as skilled birth attendants will be trained and deployed. Additionally, 600 community-based distribution attendants, 200 Health Surveillance Assistants and 420 community midwives technicians will be trained and deployed in the country, to provide family planning.

 

With thanks to CHAI for its contribution and preparing the project visit, and to the College for the welcoming reception.


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