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Zambia is a country in Southern Africa with a population of 14.3 million people. The country has a mixed economy consisting of a modern urban sector, which geographically follows the rail line, and a rural agricultural sector. Forty-four percent of the population resides in urban areas.
Health Care System
Zambia, like many sub-Saharan countries, is experiencing a critical shortage of human resources for health. While many factors contribute to this crisis, analysis shows that a key driver and bottleneck to achieving health care staffing targets is the limited output of competent graduates from the country’s education institutions.
To address the insufficient output of health workers, Zambia’s Ministry of Health worked with partners to develop a five-year strategy to scale up the capacity of health training institutions and the number of students enrolled nationwide. The strategy set targets to increase training output by 90 percent in five years, with detailed infrastructure, staffing, and financial resources required to meet these enrollment levels.
The development of Zambia’s human resources for health strategy included a comprehensive exercise to determine the resources needed to effectively scale up the production of highly-trained nurses at the existing 39 public and private health teaching institutions, including 32 nursing and midwifery schools. Current resources from the Ministry of Health have resulted in improvements in infrastructure and increases in enrollment of nursing students, but additional resources are needed to reach the Ministry’s goals to effectively support a robust health care system.
ICAP in Zambia
ICAP is the implementing partner and coordinating center for the Nursing Education Partnership Initiative (NEPI) in Zambia. The project aims to strengthen the quality and capacity of nursing and midwifery education institutions in the country, to increase the number of highly skilled nurses and midwives, and to support innovative faculty development strategies. It operates in partnership with the PEPFAR in-country team, the World Health Organization (WHO), and in-country stakeholders.
Through the NEPI Coordinating Center, effective working relationships have been established with the Ministry of Health, the General Nursing Council in Zambia, a variety of public and faith-based nursing and midwifery education institutions, and other key stakeholders.
The NEPI interventions currently being implemented have been informed by rigorous assessment and consultation with stakeholders and recommendations outlined in Ministry of Health national policy documents. Key interventions include:
- Increasing the production of nurse educators, registered nurses and midwives, and clinical preceptors
- Developing appropriate curricula and faculty skills
- Improving the teaching and learning and technology infrastructures at nursing and midwifery training institutions