Liliane Mwika is a final year student of the Institute of Nursing Sciences -ISSI, in Kinshasa. She comes from a small village near Lubumbashi, a town in the south-east of Congo, in the province of Haut-Katanga, where she would like to return once she has completed her studies. Lilian benefits from a scholarship to cover part of her costs and to support herself she does occasional weekend work.
ISSI has been offering qualified vocational training since 1997, in a country where lack of infrastructure and lack of qualified personnel continue to limit access to medical care, particularly for mothers and children. “It is a leading institution in the field, providing students with the necessary skills to respond to national health crises,” explains Candelas Varelas, Director. “ISSI students receive training to improve general health services at the national level, with modern teaching methods and personalised support through a mentoring programme”.
The entire training course takes place over four years or 8 semesters. Each academic semester has a minimum duration of 20 weeks, of which 8 weeks are dedicated to clinical internships. Since 2000, 480 nurses have graduated, 70% of whom have found employment.
“At ISSI, 80% of full-time teachers are alumni. This means that our students are trained by a team prepared to ensure the transmission of the vision and values that should make a difference in patient care”.
According to the most recent data (2017), 60% of women graduates remain in the Democratic Republic of Congo and work in the health sector. At CHME Monkole, the reference hospital in the health area of Mont Ngafula, 48% of the nurses come from ISSI, where they hold positions of responsibility.
Liliane instead wishes to return to her village and take care of a small hospital that serves the population of the community from which she comes. At the moment, “the situation is complicated because of the Covid-19 containment measures and the impossibility of working”. But training continues at ISSI. The Instituto has equipped itself to provide distance learning and also the phase of the internships, so essential in the training course, continues. Among the girls there is great motivation to make themselves useful and also the awareness that crises are part of everyday life.
Harambee supports ISSI in the management of the Covid-19 emergency and thanks to the commitment of the Committees around the world it was possible to collect and allocate 10,000 euros to contribute to the realization of distance learning and to provide students with all the necessary protection measures to be able to face the internship in hospitals. This year there are 28 girls who will be able to obtain their diploma and put themselves at the service of a population already severely tested by the stable presence of epidemics of cholera, malaria, tuberculosis, measles and ebola.
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