Enhancing healthcare training Zimbabwe
In Zimbabwe, there are few medical books available in bookshops and their high price points mean few healthcare students are able to purchase them. Yet tight budgets can mean that medical school libraries are unable to provide all the up-to-date books their students need.
Thanks to your support, this is not the case for nursing students at St Luke’s Mission Hospital in Lupane who have a well-stocked library of books to bolster their lessons with.
We talked to nursing and midwifery tutor Mollie Gabellah at St Luke’s about the difference books that you have helped to send are making for her students.
When I came here in 2000, the books were quite old and the situation was something else. But in the past three, four years we’ve been getting regular supplies from Book Aid International – new books which are according to what is expected on the programme and the curriculum. And not just one copy of a book, we are getting several.
We cannot buy books because we don’t have the money. Budgets for running hospitals are a challenge and the hospital schools are the worst affected. They don’t view schools as essential services. The clinical services are the essential ones. But it is the schools that produce the people who man the clinical departments.
Even if we had the money, we have no shops that sell these books. People can say you have the alternative source of the internet but we do not have reliable internet. For students to be able to access the internet, it’s on their phone and they have to pay. So the only source we have is through Book Aid International.
When we had fewer books, we would reserve the newer ones for the tutors only. They would use them as resource books. But in the end it meant they had to work hard to give students all the information they needed [as the students didn’t have access to the books]. But it was like feeding them all the time. Now we have more books, the tutors can give the students a guideline which they’ll go and research and come up with their own notes. So the more books we have, the more independent the students become. If they can go out and search the information, that enhances their understanding.
We want to reach world standards – it’s not like we are training nurses so they can go and work abroad. We need those skills, that knowledge here. These books from Book Aid International have enhanced our service delivery.