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Health Nursing

A Prescription for Success

South Africa | 2006 - 2012

Apartheid in South Africa produced many ill effects. Among them was a weakened nursing profession, which for many years had been the backbone of health care in the country. Atlantic supported efforts to revitalize, develop and restore pride in nursing.

Atlantic’s investments between 2006 and 2012 totaled $33 million—the largest ever by a foundation in support of nursing in South Africa. Atlantic grants were used for professional development of existing nurses and for efforts to attract and train newcomers to the profession.

Awombulelo Mandoyi is put to sleep by the anaesthetist prior to major lung surgery.

What We Learned From This Work

  1. In many cases, the ability of grantees to continue their work after Atlantic was scheduled to end, hinged on securing government funding. That’s why it’s essential to secure clear commitments from all stakeholders before starting a project.

  2. Before the start of funding, it is important to analyze staff and organizational capacity, including technical, management and implementation skills key to sustaining the work.

  3. Seed grants can enable organizations to develop their ideas and strategies. After grantees show what they can accomplish with this initial support, funders can scale their additional investments to level needed to fulfill longer-term goals.

Healthy Signs of Improvement

According to an evaluation, Atlantic’s investments in South Africa’s nursing sector “had a major catalytic and sustainable positive impact.”

Government Stepped Up

In response to the national attention Atlantic’s work brought to nursing needs in the country, the South African government committed to invest an additional $120 million in the sector from 2013 through 2017.

Number of Nurses Grew

The number of nurses per 10,000 South Africans more than tripled between 2005 and 2011. Of that number, Atlantic grantees funded during this period produced half of all new nurses in South Africa.

Trained to Help Where They Live

Support for teleconferencing has allowed nurses in rural areas to study to become advanced nurse midwives while remaining in their communities.

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