Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary for Donor Coordination, George Sinyangwe, has officially opened the first ever Scientific Conference and Annual General Meeting of the Zambia Operating Theater Nurse Interest Group (ZOTNIG).
Dr Sinyangwe has also launched the 2023 Operating Room Nurse Day.
Speaking during the launch, Dr. Sinyangwe reaffirmed government’s commitment to motivate theater nurses in the country.
The Permanent Secretary said government is cognizant of the challenges faced by theater nurses, but that government will do everything possible to ensure that the challenges are addressed.
He said through working with different stakeholders, government will continue creating platforms that will allow for exchange of knowledge.
Dr Sinyangwe stated that exchanging knowledge for peri operating health care is vital as it will help the health personnel do their work efficiently.
He added that government has made significant progress in improving the health sector by working on human resource and infrastructure development among others.
And the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Zambia, Acting Registrar, James Mesa, said the council is reviewing the curriculum of theater operators in order to improve the services of theater nurses in the country.
Mr Mesa said once the review is done, there is hope that significant improvement on how theater nurses are operating will be recorded.
Meanwhile, the Zambia Union Nurses Organization (ZUNO) General Secretary, Fred Michelo, has called on government to address the challenges faced by theater nurses in the county.
Mr Michelo said challenges such as lack of recognition and upgrading of already existing staff has been a challenge for a long time.
He alleged that theater nurses are not fully recognised in the country, a situation which he said has caused prospective students to overlook the profession.
Mr Michelo observed that a number of theater nurses have upgraded but that they are still on the same level which he called on government to address.
And The Zambia Operating Theater Nurse Interests Group (ZOTNING) Interim Chairperson, Lillian Mwape, says specialised theater nurse plays a critical role in surgical care.
Ms Mwape said so far, the country has 921 active theater nurses of which 620 nurses are in public health facilities while the rest are in the private sector.
She said the country has over 480 operating rooms which require about 50 theater nurses per day hence the need for more theater nurse to be employed.
Ms Mwape explained that for the theater sector to effectively operate well, the country needs over 7200 theater nurses.