WOZA (Johannesburg) - May 23, 2001
Nurses from the Southern African Development Community will
launch the SADC HIV/AIDS Network of Nurses and Midwives
(Sannam) in Pretoria on Wednesday. More than 10 SADC countries
will be represented at the meeting, held at the Democratic
Nursing Organisation of SA (Denosa) offices in Pretoria.
Denosa President, Professor Philda Dudu Nzimande, told iClinic
that the network is not only going to establish a regional
network for sharing information, building capacity and
promoting the best practices in dealing with the pandemic, but
it also promises to for the first time, unify African nurses'
voice in the world.
"I am one of the delegates at the International Council of
Nurses Congress in Copenhagen, Denmark from June 10-15 and in
the past, nurses from Africa attending the congress were
divided - with the new network, we hope to present one voice,"
Nzimande told iClinic.
She says that before the International AIDS Conference in
Durban last year, Denosa organised a satellite meeting for
nurses from the 14 SADC countries on HIV/AIDS, with the main
aim - in line with the theme of the conference - to get nurses
to "break the silence" on HIV/AIDS.
The question there was raised: "What can we do, as a
collective, to prevent the further spread of the disease?".
While the Durban satellite meeting was really international,
with nurses from Europe and the US attending, today's meeting
will be purely SADC.
"We will ask ourselves - and task the network with finding
answers to and coordinate activities around - the questions:
how can we work together as SADC nurses and midwives around
awareness raising, prevention, caring and treatment of
HIV/AIDS? And how can we protect the nurses involved with
HIV/AIDS work from getting infected or even fired for being
"At the satellite meeting, we made recommendations. One of them
was to formalise our agreement in the SADC region around
"Luckily we had people who promised funding - the World Health
Organisation, UNAIDS and Canada. But we are appealing to local
business to help us as well," Nzimande told iClinic.
Representatives from Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia,
Swaziland, Lesotho Uganda, Mauritius and the Seychelles have
confirmed their attendance.
The Southern African region is one of the worst hit by the
HIV/AIDS epidemic, with AIDS being one of the leading causes of
death - often following intensive nursing and care of multiple
acute and chronic illnesses.
At the meeting of the SADC Health Ministers held last month in
Botswana, a report on SANNAM was presented and the Health
Ministers pledged their support. They further pledged to
encourage their respective nursing organisations and
associations to join SANNAM.
Although Denosa is heading the setting up of the network, the
organisation will involve other nursing and midwifery
organisations in the region.
On Wednesday, a Chair and a coordinating committee will be
elected. The network will operate from Denosa's offices in