Promoting Excellence in Nursing through North-South Partnerships

Tuesday, 10 November 2015: 10:40 AM

Nelouise Geyer, PhD, MCur, BCur, RN, RM, RPsyc
Nursing Education Association, Pretoria, South Africa

BACKGROUND: Publically funded healthcare systems with well-trained primary healthcare professionals offer the best opportunity to deliver care to all. In South Africa the healthcare system is driven by nurses and midwives. The Atlantic Philanthropies believed that strengthening the healthcare system in South Africa has to start with nursing education and training institutions to become world-class teaching facilities able to attract high-caliber faculty and students. Nurses have a potentially powerful role to play in their communities and rebuilding the morale, image and recognition would have broader social implications for communities and the profession.

OBJECTIVE: Atlantic Philanthropies set out to restore the image and reputation of nursing as a profession in South Africa by strengthening infrastructure, scholarship and research to ultimately restore the pride in nursing to make a lasting difference to the health and healthcare of South Africans. Supporting the revitalization and development of the nursing profession in South Africa provided a good fit with Atlantic’s overall approach of involvement in areas where other players had traditionally ignored.

METHODS: To support this goal Atlantic invested US$ 32.8 million and was subsequently joined by ELMA Foundation as a co-funder. Technical support was made available to assist organizations to develop funding proposals to access a portion of the funding.

RESULTS: Overall outcomes of this partnership provided for increase government funding and commitment to nursing, improved sustainability and collaboration in the profession and a steadily increasing number of trained nurses. Some of the specific outcomes of this partnership will be highlighted which include higher education, professional development, research and scholarship support, development of nurse leadership. As with any other project and partnerships, challenges were experienced in the execution of the participating projects.

CONCLUSION:  In spite of the challenges experienced, the investment made in the nursing sector has had a major catalytic and sustainable positive impact in nursing that is ongoing. A number of lessons have been learned that other funders should consider when a larger group of potential projects are considered.