While the Egyptian health system is characterized by an extensive infrastructure, an adequate number of health professionals, and good access to medical technology, medicines, and facilities, there still exists poor quality of care. The Improving the Performance of Hospital Nurses in Egypt (IPHN) project works with the Ministry of Health to address this challenge.
Empowering Health Professionals to Improve Services
Egypt’s public health sector contains a broad human resource base—a potential strength in terms of improving the quality of care and addressing the needs of the growing population. Nurses play a central role in health service delivery, especially in remote areas where they may be the only frontline providers of care. In effect, given their large number and wide presence in the countries, nurses may play the most central role in preventing and controlling infections, ensuring client satisfaction and promoting quality of care in the health centers, hospitals and clinics.
Yet, despite their large presence and potential importance in the health sector, nurses—and nursing as a profession—are not highly valued. Training programs for nurses within Egypt are lengthy, repetitive, and lacking in leadership and management training. A result of this poor training is a gap between the skills the nurses have and need to provide quality patient care, especially in rural areas. This inefficient training coupled with a lack of authority contribute to a low morale among nurses and, in turn, poor standards of care and low client satisfaction. The IPHN project aims to fill this gap in training by using the Leadership Development Program.
Identifying Challenges to Achieve Results
Through the program, nurses at all levels will successfully identify and address key health care challenges and achieve measurable results. More specifically, the project’s expected results are:
- Nurses are aware of and committed to adhering to the Ministry of Health (MOH) standards and guidelines for infection control, basic nursing care, and communication.
- Nurses are empowered to take initiative to face the challenges and produce better results in the three focus areas of the project.
- Increased local capacity through a group of trained facilitators. This group will promote the methodology across districts and governorates, leading ownership and sustainability of the program.
Using the LDP to Build Capacity
One of MSH’s proven approaches, the Leadership Development Program (LDP), was successfully delivered with the support of the MOH to teams in primary health care units in Aswan in 2002. The program continues to achieve impressive results in health service delivery outcomes and has been sustained in Aswan by local facilitators—using local resources—since that time.
Through IPHN, MSH will build on established successes to design and implement the LDP for nurses in select government hospitals in the Upper Egypt governorates of Aswan, Luxor, and Qena, working closely with our partner, the Om Habibeh Foundation (OHF), the MOH, and USAID. The LDP will focus on both equipping nurses with leadership and management skills and creating the enabling environment for staff to adhere to national MOH standards for infection control, basic nursing care, and communication.
OHF’s Nursing Program provides an appropriate and effective avenue to build nurses’ capacity. OHF will provide important linkages to the nurses and identified hospitals, as well as technical input on adapting the LDP to include training on MOH standards and guidelines.
This program will target approximately 492 nurses, who work in selected hospitals in Aswan, Luxor and Qena. With the support of local facilitators and OHF, the initial phase will begin with four concurrent LDPs targeting approximately 102 nurses in several districts of Aswan. In the second phase, the LDP will be scaled up to Luxor (3 LDPs) and Qena (10 LDPs) using local facilitators to foster ownership and sustainability of the program. Anticipated program goals include:
- Increasing the capacity of local facilitators;
- Reinforcing the knowledge and skills learned in the trainings;
- Disseminating training materials in Arabic;
- Strengthening existing mechanisms for in-service training for nurses.
As a result of the LDPs, we anticipate improvements in infection control, basic nursing care, and communication as well as adherence to MOH guidelines on these three areas.
Management Sciences for Health : 784 Memorial Drive, Cambridge, MA 02139 United States : Tel +1.617.250.9500 www.msh.org