oa Professional Nursing Today - Major steps in improving maternal and child health : editorial

Volume 16, Issue 5
  • ISSN : 1607-6672



The South African Department of Health has been busy reforming our health services for a number of years. The activities of task teams and specialists and the creation of summits and numerous projects are visible at the health facilities, while there are numerous reports in the media on planned new ventures. Employees are relied upon to guide and assist the projects from initiation to implementation. At the coal face, they may often feel disheartened because numerous times before it has seemed to be a futile exercise. It is encouraging, then, that on 27 September 2012, the Minister of Health launched an induction programme for district specialist clinical teams. While it was thought to be impossible, the Department of Health has succeeded in appointing medical specialists and senior specialist nurses to drive this vital component of the revitalisation of primary healthcare which seeks to strive for better health for everyone. The role of the clinical specialist teams includes the provision of strategic leadership and support to the district, with particular emphasis on maternal and child health and clinical leadership and mentorship to ensure that doctors and nurses are adequately trained and supervised in visiting facilities, clinical audits, observing clinical practices and collecting and interpreting data. The goal is to reduce maternal, infant and child mortality as rapidly as possible (www.doh.gov.za).

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