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World Aids Day: Pivotal Role of Nurses in Uganda

The facility managers perceived nurses to be a more dependable cadre as they “tend to stick around for years”. There was a common perception that “higher grade” cadres, such as young doctors, tend to leave for further training and better-paying jobs. Because of the shortage of medical doctors, nurses were depended upon as the backbone of HIV service delivery in HIV clinics across Uganda.

Nurses were empowered to be “all-rounders” in HIV care, from testing to ensuring viral suppression. We were told that nurses could do “big things” if they receive regular training and supportive supervision. Over the past decade, several studies have demonstrated that nurse-managed HIV care and treatment is not inferior.

The dramatic expansion in access to HIV treatment in Uganda revealed the competence of nurses in managing more advanced roles in HIV disease management. But task shifting to nurses is still not yet formally recognised by policy. The official “scope of practice” of nurses has not been revised to reflect the extension in their roles in HIV service delivery.

Source: The Conversation

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