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Online platform to support, connect nurses in Africa

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To mark this year’s International Nurses Day on 12 May, local software company Patient Health plans to launch an online platform to provide emotional support to nurses.

This comes as nurses have been at the frontline of the COVID-19 battle, with the International Council of Nurses (ICN) noting the impact of the virus on the nursing community.

The ageing of the nursing workforce, combined with declining population growth worldwide, could also lead to a potential shortfall of up to 13 million nurses by 2030, ICN predicts.

Named Afrinurse, Patient Health’s digital platform is designed to empower and support nurses throughout the African continent, according to a statement.

It notes COVID-19 has taken an emotional toll on South African nurses and their families. With hospitals reaching capacity, nurses have had to work overtime and are suffering from mental, financial and physical fatigue.

Some nurses have resigned or taken a break from nursing to protect themselves and their families from the virus, leaving them without an income.

By creating Afrinurse, Patient Health aims to give nurses throughout the African continent access to mental health tools, and a booking portal that connects them to psychologists and other healthcare professionals online.

The digital platform also provides educational videos that assist nurses in managing infections, symptoms, vaccinations and other relevant topics.

Furthermore, they can use the platform to find job listings and post their availability to work via the built-in ‘job board’. There’s also a financial advisory feature, providing access to financial advisors and debt managers.

Sylvester Msuthwana, founder of Patient Health, explains: “With this platform, we take care of the overall wellness of nurses, mentally, physically and financially by giving them an easy and secure platform to access verified professionals online. We also empower nurses by giving them access to practical, verified information while virtually connecting them to each other.”

Patient Health is incubated at one of The Innovation Hub’s flagship business incubation programmes, Maxum Smart.

According to Msuthwana, the ‘Nurse Hero’ feature allows for nurses to be celebrated for excellent service by patients and doctors through a rating and rewards system. Nurses can also communicate with one another with the ‘Ask a nurse’ function to transfer knowledge and skills to other nurses across Africa.

“As The Innovation Hub, we are proud to support companies such as Patient Health, knowing they are doing their part to make a difference in the lives of our essential workers,” says advocate Pieter Holl, CEO of The Innovation Hub.

Msuthwana concludes: “Now, more than ever, is the time to stand together and work towards the greater good of our country and Africa as a whole. We salute our nurses and thank them for what they have done and continue to do for us. We hope that our platform can be of assistance and support to all nurses.”

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