ICAP Launches Multinational Nurse Capacity-Building Initiative in Africa

April 22, 2009 -- As part of its ongoing support for strengthened HIV programs and health systems generally, ICAP is launching a nurse capacity-building initiative in six countries in sub-Saharan Africa. The program is supported by a grant from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

Healthcare systems throughout Africa suffer from shortages of trained providers, including nurses. The HIV epidemic has further strained these already fragile systems by adding new responsibilities and increasing workload. This has led some nurses to leave the healthcare profession entirely, further aggravating the problem.

The ICAP Nurse Capacity Initiative will focus on improving nurse training and mentorship in comprehensive HIV services, and on bolstering the nursing workforce through policy advocacy and efforts to enhance nurse retention. The initiative will support nurses and nursing institutions in Ethiopia, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, and Swaziland.

“Programs will be shaped based on locally identified needs, in collaboration with local nursing schools and associations, governments, and other stakeholders,” explained Robin Flam, MD, director of ICAP’s Clinical Unit. “A multi-national network of stakeholders will also be mobilized to serve as advocates on nursing-related issues and promote sharing of best practices.”

ICAP’s Nurse Capacity Initiative is supported by HRSA, the University of Fort Hare Department of Nursing Sciences in South Africa, the Columbia University School of Nursing, and the International Council of Nursing.

About ICAP

ICAP is a global leader in supporting the scale-up of multidisciplinary HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and treatment programs based on a family-focused approach. Currently, ICAP supports 791 sites in 14 resource-limited countries of sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, which provide HIV services to more than 670,000 people, including antiretroviral treatment to more than 327,000 individuals. In addition, ICAP-supported sites have provided HIV counseling and testing services to more than 516,000 pregnant women. For more information, visit the ICAP website at www.columbia-icap.org.