Swaziland Nursing Council with Seed Global Health, Peace Corps and PEPFAR staff.
The Global Health Service Partnership will be expanding to Swaziland as its fourth partner country. For the 2016 class, the program will place GHSP Nurse Educators in the country to work alongside faculty in local nursing schools. Peace Corps announced the expansion in a press release released on Nov. 5. You can read the release here.
Nursing is the backbone of the health care system in Swaziland, a small, landlocked country sandwiched between South Africa and Mozambique. Nurses make up more than 80 percent of the human resources for health and provide the majority of primary health care. But there is still a significant shortage of nurses: just 16 for every 10,000 people, as opposed to 98 per 10,000 in US.
As a result of this persistent shortage of health care providers, the country struggles to overcome major health challenges. Swaziland has the highest prevalence of HIV/AIDs in the world, with more than 27 percent of the adult population living with the disease. In 2013, the disease accounted for 31 percent of deaths in the country.
Today, Swaziland has the world’s fourth lowest life expectancy at 49 years. The infant mortality rate in Swaziland — 52 deaths for every 1,000 live births — is more than 10 times the rate of 5 deaths per 1,000 live births in the United States.
By working with Swazi faculty to teach and mentor the next generation of nurses, Seed and the GHSP will strengthen the health system and build capacity to provide better care and outcomes for patients.
“A qualified and capable nurse workforce is critical to Swaziland’s ability to deliver health care and tackle the country’s health challenges,” said Dr. Vanessa Kerry, co-founder and CEO of Seed Global Health. “We are excited to be able to respond to the country’s expressed needs and priorities by helping educate and train the next generation of nurses, enabling and empowering them to provide more skilled care and training for years to come.”