One-quarter of the world’s disease burden lies in Africa. Yet while the continent battles HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, a rising tide of chronic diseases, and a host of other health challenges, it has only 3% of the global health workforce. Nurses and midwives, who provide upwards of 90% of patient care, bear the brunt of this reality. They are overburdened, undertrained, and often underappreciated.
“It’s an unimaginable situation,” says Jennifer Dohrn, DNP, Project Director for the ICAP Global Nurse Capacity Building Program. “Nurses and midwives are on the frontline, facing huge challenges. They are often burned out, unable to take care of their patients and their families. And patients’ health suffers because the community depends on the nurse knowing everything and serving all.” At the same time, salaries are limited and gratitude for the work they do is not always evident. In response, nurses are leaving their jobs, changing professions, or leaving the country.
For the last three years, ICAP has worked to remedy the problem by