Brighton University has been awarded a £30,000 government grant to help set up the first paediatric nursing course in Zambia.
The under-five mortality rate in the Southern African country is 83 per 1000 – over 16 times that of the UK.
There is currently no-post registration education provision for the care of children in Zambia and the absence of nurses trained in paediatrics has hindered Zambia’s ability to improve child survival.
The university’s project aims to provide nurses with the knowledge, skills and competence to care for sick infants and children admitted to hospital. Some of the teaching will use modern communications.
Jill Durrant, child health senior lecturer and project lead in Brighton’s school of nursing and midwifery, said: “Using email and Skype will enable the students to share reflections on clinical practice and this will also extend to nursing lecturers as well.
“The nursing students in Zambia are eager to learn and the project will enable them to buddy up with students here in the UK.”
The university will be working with the Lusaka School of Nursing and the Brighton-Lusaka Health Charity Link.
Eric Chisupa, principal lecturer at Lusaka Schools of Nursing (paediatrics), said: “For so many years our children in Zambia have been managed by general nurses and midwives, and this has, in some cases, resulted in them not receiving the best care.
“With the coming of the paediatric course we are certain that the children will benefit, and we all know that eventually the country will benefit too. The infant mortality rate will reduce.”