The Nursing and Midwifery leadersfrom 17 countries in the ECSA region including Botswana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Mozambique, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, South Sudan, Swaziland, Seychelles, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe convened in Johannesburg for annual summative meeting for Africa Health Profession Regulatory Collaborative project(ARC). In addition to 17 countries from ECSA region which implement (ARC) project, other three countries which are implementing similar project from francophone countries were invited to attend which are Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ivory Cost and Cameroon. The meeting took place from 16-19 February, 2016 at Crown Plaza Hotel, Johannesburg South Africa and it involved a team of four nurse leaders from each country including Director of nursing and midwifery services/Chief Nursing Officer, Registrar for the Nursing and Midwifery Council, President of the National nurses association as well as the representative from academic institution offering nursing and midwifery training.
The ARC phase one of the project has been implemented by consortium of partners including East, Central and Southern Africa Health Community (ECSA HC) through its professional College of Nursing (ECSACON), Commonwealth Secretariat, Emory University, US Centers for Diseases Control, Emory University as well as Commonwealth Nurses and Midwives Federation (CNMF).
The summative congress marked the end of the first phase of the ARC project while introducing the second phase of the project and it was featured by a number of events where by the country teams had an opportunity toshow case the development milestones attained through the support of the project. Some successes shared by countries during the event includes improvement of the nursing scope of practice, improvement of nursing regulations including task sharing, establishing Continuing Professional Development, strengthened nursing and midwifery acts as well as established formal way of working as team among four nurse leaders in addressing common challenges through QUAD approach. In a special way, the team congratulated Mozambique QUAD team for their tireless efforts towards forming the nursing and midwifery council during the life span of the ARC project.
In attendance was the Director General of ECSA Health Community Prof. Yoswa Dambisya, the representative of WHO Geneva Ms. Mwansa NKOWANE, the representative from International Council of Nurses (ICN) Ms. Jean Barry, Representative of USAID Southern Africa John Fieno and other delegates from CDC Headquarter Atlanta.
During the opening session the Director General of ECSA HC registered his appreciation for the support and continuous collaboration among partners in strengthening nursing and midwifery profession and health system at large. He also reaffirmed the commitment of ECSA Health Community to continue supporting the ARC project as it embarks on its second phase of its implementation. He also urged nurses to take the driver’s seat in ensuring the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) building from the experience they have acquired in facilitating attainment of the Millennium Development Goal.
In that meeting, phase two of the ARC project was launched which will emphasize on building collaboration among different health professionals in attainment of the UNAIDS Global 2020 target where by year 2020, 90% of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status; 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained ART; and 90% of all people receiving ART will have viral suppression.
The meeting witnessed the expansion of ARC project not only to the West Africa but also involvement of laboratory experts in the project. Inclusion of laboratory experts led to the launch of the another initiative within ARC project with the name Africa Health Professions Regional Collaborative for Laboratory Technologists and Technicians (LARC). The main goal of LARC is to achieve and maintain HIV Viral Load suppression by increasing the uptake of Viral Load testing and improving institutional capacity, leadership and normative guidance.