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Massive Grants to Transform Nursing Education in South Africa

Resource type: News

Inyathelo The South African Institute for Advancement |

New Programme Will Improve Nursing Education, Increase Ranks of University Educated Nurses and Benefit All South Africans

Cape Town, 11 December 2008 – Nursing education in South Africa will be boosted by an unprecedented injection of R70-million over four years from The Atlantic Philanthropies, an international philanthropic organisation.

The initiative will elevate nursing education and uplift the quality of healthcare delivery in South Africa. Four major grants and three seed grants will be made to a total of seven universities. These grants total the biggest single commitment of funds for nursing academia in South Africa from a single private funder.

From 2009 to the end of 2012, the universities will use the awards to improve the health of South Africans by transforming nursing education, research, clinical care and specialities, and to advance current and future generations of nurses to the highest levels of doctoral study and beyond.

More specifically, this investment will improve many areas of nursing specialisation, including maternal and child health, community health, and critical care nursing.

The four institutions receiving major awards of between R16- and R17-million are: the Departments of Nursing at the Tshwane University of Technology, the University of Fort Hare, the University of the Free State, and the University of the Western Cape.

In addition, seed grants of R1-million each are being awarded to three additional universities: North West University, Stellenbosch University and the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

The grants were awarded through the University-based Nursing Education South Africa (UNEDSA) programme, managed by Inyathelo The South African Institute for Advancement, a non-profit trust that promotes philanthropy and strengthens the NGO sector and institutions such as universities.

“Nurses literally deliver more health care in South African than the members of any other profession, and this support for advancing nursing education, academics, research and clinical practice will empower nurses and strengthen nursing as a profession and ensure higher quality care for South Africans,” said Dr. Vicki Pinkney Atkinson, Programme Manager of UNESDA. “Nurses are elated with this commitment of 70 million Rand to their professional advancement because they have never benefitted from this magnitude of support before.

“The Atlantic Philanthropies are fully committed to ensuring that nurses in South Africa get the resources they need and the respect they deserve,” said Makhosazana Xaba, Programme Executive of The Atlantic Philanthropies, who is a trained nurse. Atlantic, which manages Population Health and Human Rights & Reconciliation Programmes in South Africa, is focussed on improving the health of South Africans by increasing the number of health professionals who can deliver the care that South Africans need.

“Through this programme, South African nursing will compete internationally, attract the best candidates for the profession and encourage nurses who have moved abroad to return to the country,” said Barbara Hogan, Health Minister.

Each university that applied for a grant was required to address the needs of a particular institution and its community. The awards will be celebrated at a function in Cape Town on 12 December.

The winners for the four major grants will do the following:

The Adelaide Tambo School of Nursing Science at the Tshwane University of Technology will render nursing services to the community in Shoshanguve Ext 12 and 13 by means of mobile clinics offering primary health care, cancer and palliative care, management of lifestyle diseases, and early childhood development. This extended access to specialised primary, secondary and tertiary nursing care will directly contribute to improving the health of the community.

The Department of Nursing Sciences at the University of Fort Hare will introduce new doctoral and research masters programmes, enhance the capacity of its current staff, and assist in increasing the number of students enrolled in postgraduate studies. In conjunction with this grant, the University committed an additional R40-million of its own to build a centre of nursing excellence, designed to develop cutting-edge post-graduate programmes.

The School of Nursing at the University of the Free State will establish a unique Virtual Health Teaching and Learning facility, which will provide hands-on clinical training for students by bringing volunteers from the communities into the classroom to play the roles of people with specific illnesses and disorders. It will also serve practising nurses and staff members by establishing a new unit for continued professional and research capacity development. A new masters degree in nursing education will be introduced, and the portfolio of programmes at undergraduate, post-basic and postgraduate levels will be fully transformed and accredited.

The School of Nursing at the University of the Western Cape plans to create a centre for teaching and learning with the aim of increasing research capacity and to provide academic support for postgraduate students. It will also place a strong emphasis on research and publications. This effort is expected to significantly increase the numbers of masters and doctoral candidates within four years.

About Inyathelo – The South African Institute for Advancement

Inyathelo is a leading South African non-profit organisation growing local philanthropy and building a strong and sustainable civil society in South Africa. It provides advancement and fundraising training to anchor institutions such as universities and hospitals as well as organisations in the non-profit sector. Whilst strengthening such organisations, it promotes a culture of giving to ensure resources from within South Africa are available to its own civil society. Further details are available on