The University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Child Nurse Practice Development Initiative (CNPDI) critical care education team has been recognised for its excellence in developing paediatric nursing capacity across the continent.

The team won the 2018 Burdett Nursing Award for Global Health Impact, an award which recognises teams who have made an outstanding contribution to patient care outside of the UK.

The CNPDI, which constitutes Africa’s premier nursing training centre, is run in partnership between UCT and the Red Cross Children’s Hospital.

Since 2009, the small critical care education team, led by UK nurse practitioner Clare Davis, has trained 121 critical care children’s nurses from six sub-Saharan countries. When Davis left the UK and joined the CNPDI in 2009 she became the first and only critical care child nursing lecturer in Africa.

“One of the big things my experience of working in Africa has taught me is that it doesn’t help to look at situations as being resource-poor. The philosophy of this team is that people, especially nurses, are resource-full. If you keep that in mind, you can usually find a way to get things done,” said Davis.

According to a statement issued by UCT, less than 2% of southern African nurses are trained in paediatrics, and this is even lower in other sub-Saharan countries.

The initiative boasts a 94% graduation rate and all its graduates have returned to practice in their home countries, with many going on to lead important developments in local and national paediatric health services.

In 2013 the team supported alumni in Kenya as they worked to set up a second training site for the continent. This new centre has become a hub for nurses in East Africa – with 67 graduates and another 33 enrolled. Together, these two centres represent the future of critical care child nursing in Africa.

“Clare is a dynamic and astute leader and engaging clinical teacher,” said CNPDI Director and Associate Professor, Minette Coetzee. “Her diligence and clear thinking helps her team and students find ways to make excellence an achievable goal even for nurses working in the most challenging situations in Africa.”

“It’s wonderful to see that work and dedication being recognised by such a prestigious international body as the Burdett Trust. I’m incredibly proud of them,” concluded Prof Coetzee.

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