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Nurses union advocates for wellness centers, TB protective gear

The country’s nurses union has expressed dissatisfaction with the lack of enough protective gear for nurses working in the Tuberculosis (TB) wards saying such development puts lives of nurses at risk.

President of the National Organisation of Nurses and Midwives (NONM) Dorothy Ngoma made the remarks on Monday in Lilongwe during the opening of the week long TB Trainers of Trainers workshop that is funded by the International Council of Nurses ICN.

 

Ngoma said the country has lost some nurses in the process after working for a long time in TB wards without necessary protective gear thereby getting infected and affected by TB.

“It is pathetic that in most cases our nurses wear their uniforms and work with the same in the TB ward and return back home in the same attire when actually it is required that at the TB ward they must put on protective wear and after work change the gear before getting back home as a safety measure for themselves, their families and communities they interact with”, said Ngoma.

She expressed worry that the country’s health system has no mechanisms for special care for nurses like specially designed wellness centers that could carter for special needs for nurses’ health care.

“As a nurses union, we have been advocating for the establishment of the wellness centers but we are yet to achieve this due to lack of resources at the union level. “For instance the soldiers, the police have their own specialized hospitals where they get treatment but nurses have nowhere to go and instead they queue together with patients who come to seek services of nurses at the hospital a development which is sad for us because we also have rights as health care workers”, she said.

Ngoma explained that that she believes that the training will give the nurses the ammunition to take up the TB challenge in the country head on.

She therefore commended the ICN for making the workshop possible with financial support, saying the nurses union could not afford on its own to organize such capacity building training on TB due to resource constraints. In his remarks one of the training facilitators Andrew Dimba from the National TB Program expressed optimism that given time and resources and change in some policies in handling diseases like TB, the challenges highlighted by the Nonm president would be sorted out.

“TB is one of the serious diseases of public concern that we must talk about and take action and in epidemiology we say one case is a case to everybody because of its mode of transmission. We believe that by the end of this workshop we will come up with an action plan on how best we can move forward because as I said TB is really a big challenge that requires serious and concerted strategies”, said Dimba.

The training has drawn thirty nurse participants working in the TB wards in various health facilities in the country.