‘Leading Lights’ initiative highlights work and impact of frontline TB nurses

The International Council of Nurses’ (ICN) ‘Leading Lights’ initiative showcases the work of those nurses, trained by the ICN’s tuberculosis (TB) and multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) project, who have made an outstanding contribution to TB prevention, care and management in their local facility and community. 

Three nurses have been selected as ‘Leading Lights’ for December 2017:

Ms Esther Chisenga Lupanda (Zambia).

Since attending the ICN course in 2016, Esther has provided training to 51 healthcare workers and six volunteers in her clinic and district. She trained on TB management, sputum follow-up, anti-TB medication adherence, TB/HIV and admission of MDR-TB patients. Esther recognised that patients were failing to submit follow-up sputum so started providing patients with continuous health education and demonstrations on sputum production. As a result of her efforts, there has been an increase in case detection and cure rates in her clinic.

Ms Olga Kritskaya (Russian Federation)

As a psychology graduate, Olga has been able to actively use her knowledge to support long-term treatment adherence in patients, is able to recognise early symptoms of depression and other side-effects and effectively counsel patients. She is a Head Nurse at The Tomsk TB Pulmonary Medical Centre, a leading TB treatment facility which has initiated video observed TB treatment (VOT) for patients. Olga has been responsible for preparing for the introduction of this new technology and developed the instructions and training for nurses and patients. When the project started, there were eight patients on VOT; today there are 80 patients undergoing therapy via Skype, saving time and money, and aiding patients who now no longer need to travel to the TB clinic daily.

Ms Zhang Cuiling (China)

Zhang Cuiling has been engaged in TB clinical care for 21 years (11 years in nursing management) and focuses her efforts on health education for TB patients and their families and continuing education for nurses in Jilin province. To date, she has conducted 12 national and 67 provincial continuing education programmes which have involved 8,011 medical staff.

Find out more about the work of these three exceptional nurses; the ICN’s ‘Leading Lights’ initiative and the TB and MDR-TB training project here (PDF  372 KB)

For José Luis Castro, Executive Director at The Union, prioritising the health workforce is central to strong healthcare systems. “Well-trained and well-resourced staff including frontline nurses and doctors are critical to ending TB. In low-resource settings particularly, nurses are frequently relied upon to deliver TB care and treatment – yet TB treatment is not generally part of nurse training. In accordance with the sustainable development goals, increased finance and investment must be prioritised to support the recruitment, training and retention of the health workforce in under-developed countries. The impact on healthcare systems worldwide would be profound.”

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On Universal Health Coverage Day last month, The Union and the ICN launched the updated Best Practice for the Care of Patients with Tuberculosis: a Guide for Low-Income Countries for healthcare workers involved in detecting and caring for patients with TB.

More details on The Union’s Nurses and Allied Professionals Membership Sub-Section can be found here