Windhoek — The Dean of the University of Namibia (Unam) Medical School, Professor Peter Nyarango, believes that the only way to address the shortage of nursing staff and reduce their workload is to inject some 700 trainee nurses into the Namibian health system.
The trainee 700 nurses will only work on an internship basis on certain days, for which they will receive some allowance, explained the medical professor.
Nyarango said only 30 percent of health personnel worldwide comply with health infection control guidelines in hospitals, leading to a large number of people succumbing to hospital-acquired illnesses.
Non-compliance with health infection control measures is a result of mainly high workloads due to a shortage of health workers, lack of scientific knowledge, structural reasons such as wrong location and shortage of health appliances, and ignorance.
"Changes to the workload are possible. How? Inject some 700 nurses into the system," Nyarango declared.
He said there are about 250 student nurses in Oshakati and a further 450 student nurses in Windhoek.
He told nurses at the International Nurses Day, commemorated at the Katutura State Hospital last week, that if student nurses could be given an allowance, they could enter the health system on holidays, weekends and night shifts.
"Six months from now, the permanent secretary of the health ministry and I will be accountable if we do not inject those 700 nurses into the system," he affirmed, adding that funds for such an initiative should be somewhere.
Last month, at the graduation ceremony of the National Health Training Centre, Health and Social Services Minister, Dr Richard Kamwi, said while 95 percent of enrolled nurses are filled in positions, there is a deficit of 30 to 50 percent of registered nurses in the country.
Unam Pro-Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs and Research, Prof. Osmund Mwandemele, called on health professionals to indulge in "nursing research" directed toward the outcomes of nursing interventions, so as to ensure the quality and cost effectiveness of nursing care.