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Context

Zambia is experiencing a critical shortage of healthcare workforce, particularly nurses and midwives. 

The Zambian Ministry of Health is scaling up nursing and midwifery training in rural Zambia (5th National Plan, 2006; National Training Operational Plan 2008; National Nursing and Midwifery Strategic Plan, 2009-2013).  This will contribute to improved survival rates, including of mothers and children. 

Despite major progress towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for health, Zambia remains a  low income country with  one of the highest levels of maternal mortality in the world (over 591/100000 live births) and equally high infant and child mortality (approximately 70 and 119/1000 live births respectively).  There is also a deficit of trained nurses and midwives in rural areas (National Nursing and Midwifery Strategic Plan, 2009-2013). 

Chitambo Hospital, Central Province, serves a scattered population of around 100,000 with around 500 in-patient and many more outpatient deliveries annually in seven RHC and 19 health associated posts, many of which are barely accessible by road.  The hospital is operating with a higher than average deficit of trained nurses and midwives.  (This map created by Bob Kerr of openstreetmap.org helps illustrate the geographic context)

The once thriving Nurse Training School closed in the 1996 through lack of funding.  Until the Zambian government re-opened it in 2011/12, Central Province was poorly served, with no rural nurse training facility.  Re-opening the school is a major contribution to community re-generation, through increasing health workforce, reducing local mortality rates and boosting local employment.  This can only be good.

- See more at: http://www.thet.org/hps/health-partnerships/jvalli#sthash.HX5LWzF7.dpuf

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