STRENGTHENING INTERNATIONAL HEALTH PARTNERSHIPS CRITICAL FOR DEVELOPING COUNTRIES
Building sustainable international health partnerships should be a key consideration for developing countries in advancing their nursing professions.
This is the view of Professor Leana Uys, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Health Sciences and UKZN representative of Sigma Theta Tau International, who was one of the speakers at the recent Global Nursing Symposium at the UKZN’s Innovation Centre.
Eighty delegates from 22 countries attended the symposium aimed at strengthening international health partnerships.
In forging partnerships aimed at enhancing nursing and midwifery education, practice and research, Higher Education institutions in developing countries should focus on projects with long term benefits for the health care systems, said Professor Uys.
Skilling both nursing staff and students at an institutional level to manage international health collaborations should be introduced in developing countries. Institutions responsible for nursing education in many African countries did not have mechanisms in place to facilitate networking in the continent aimed at improving international partnerships.
Professor Uys said Africa’s challenges in building global health partnerships included:
- the unavailability of strategic plans in certain countries and institutions which in turn impeded the appropriate targeting of nurse and midwifery collaborations;
- confusion over the categories of nurses appropriate for each country;
- inadequate research support and policies within higher education institutions;
- the continual change of leadership at tertiary institutions which undermined international collaborations.
Developed countries were often keen on international collaboration because they experienced a shortage of clinical training facilities for student nurses due to the lack of access to patients.
“Developed countries collaborate with African countries on short term projects without thought for the long term impact on the health care systems of those African countries. When entering international partnerships, African countries should focus on mutual sustainable benefits.
“We need continued dialogue to create a new culture of collaboration to achieve long term benefits,” added Professor Uys.