On the occasion of World AIDS Day, ICN calls for the development and integration of measures to ensure the protection of nurses in the workplace and to address the stress and burn-out experienced by nurses working in high burden areas.
Nurses are at the core of health systems everywhere, but since HIV and AIS have reached pandemic proportions, many health systems are at breaking point. In sub-Saharan Africa, nurses and other health care workers are bearing the burden of this pandemic and are overstressed and undervalued The widespread emergence of other infectious disease such as tuberculosis (TB), and the significant prevalence of Hepatitis B and C has increased the potential for occupational exposure by nurses/midwives, necessitating appropriate supplies and protective personal equipment and consistent use of standard precautions. In addition, the intensive nursing care demands of persons with HIV and the real or perceived risks and stressful work environment, can have a detrimental impact on the profession, including burnout, a high drop-out rate and fewer recruits.
ICN’s Wellness Centres for Health Care Workers
aim to address the severe health care worker crisis through attention to the health, wellbeing and capacity of the whole health workforce. Services include stress management, PEP, HIV counselling, testing and treatment to Hepatitis B vaccination, training opportunities and home-based care. These centres are now up and running in Ethiopia, Lesotho, Malawi, Swaziland, Uganda and Zambia.
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