|Dr. Patricia Grady
In conjunction with attending the recent meeting of the International Council of Nursing, NINR director Dr. Patricia Grady travelled to McCord Hospital, on the outskirts of the coastal city of Durban in the province of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa.
McCord was founded in 1909 to provide medical care to the local Zulu people. For much of its history, it offered the only nurse training program available to blacks in South Africa. Now at its centennial, the hospital remains one of the best training institutions in the country for nurses, midwives and physicians. In addition, it has gained an international reputation for excellence in providing high-quality, affordable health care to all.
At McCord, Grady met with Dr. Helga Holst, the hospital’s CEO since 2007. Under Holst’s leadership, and with support from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and other international agencies, the hospital developed many HIV/AIDS programs to improve access to treatment and decrease the risk of viral transmission from mother to child. One of the most successful of these programs is the Sinikithemba (We Give Hope) clinic, which Grady toured. Using a family-centered approach, the clinic places a strong emphasis on HIV awareness and prevention while providing a range of services to HIV patients that includes early diagnosis, antiretroviral medications, wellness education, spiritual and psychosocial support and palliative care.
Grady also visited the McCord School of Nursing, which has been in operation since 1924. The school currently graduates about 190 nurses each year. As in many countries around the world, South Africa is experiencing a significant shortage of nurses, especially in public health and in rural areas. Widely recognized for their dedication and excellence, McCord-trained nurses are in high demand and many have gone on to become directors of nursing in hospitals across southern Africa.
“Seeing this wonderful facility and meeting the dynamic, dedicated nurses and other clinicians was truly an inspiration,” noted Grady. “Dr. Holst understands the central role that nurses play, both in providing care and conducting research. McCord’s focus on community outreach and on training promises to make a difference in improving the health of South Africans for generations to come.”