Sancta Maria College of Nursing and Midwifery
Partner | IBVM Community of Southern Africa
Location | Lukulu, Zambia
In 2020 the Bishop of Mongu approached the Loreto Sisters to manage the construction and operations of a new nursing and midwifery college in the remote community of Lukulu, in the Western Province of Zambia.
The college is being developed on the site of the abandoned Sancta Maria Mission Hospital located in the centre of town. It will provide local young people with an opportunity for tertiary and professional training otherwise inaccessible to them in this remote and underdeveloped area of Zambia.
While the Loreto Sisters manage the college’s operations, the Zambian Government pay the salaries of all key personnel and fund a portion of the running costs. Additionally, the progress and standards of the content of the curriculum and instruction are monitored and evaluated by the General Nursing Council of Zambia.
Without education, local youth are unable to break the cycle of poverty for themselves and their families. An environment of hopelessness perpetuates amongst young people. It manifests through significant dropout rates from school, teenage pregnancies, prostitution, alcohol and drug problems, and the confinement of young girls to village life with no apparent future.
Furthermore, the remote districts of Lukulu and Mitete do not have sufficient qualified nurses to adequately provide local health services. Additionally, a low retention rate presents an ongoing challenge for the region.
Having a nursing and midwifery college that recruits students predominantly from the local area with deep, established family connections and a familiarity with the adverse living conditions means that qualified nurses graduating from the college will be more inclined to stay and work in the region. Ultimately, this will result in more stable and skilled staff delivering quality health services in these marginalised areas of the country.
Priority recruitment is given to female students to ensure greater equality in terms of opportunities afforded to girls within the local community.
The college will also promote much-needed future economic development by creating a hub for health education and encouraging complementary business and health services to establish themselves in the region.
With the recent approval by Zambia’s Nursing & Midwifery Council and initial renovations of the old hospital buildings complete, the college finally opened its doors to its first intake of 60 students on 23 August 2021. The next crucial phase of works, which is well underway, comprises constructing accommodation for students and senior academic staff.
The college now has a new bus to transport students to and from their practical sessions at the local hospital, located five kilometres from the college.
The final phase of construction will commence in 2022 and will safeguard the long-term future of the college. Building on the works to date, it will ensure the college is fit-for-purpose through the construction of new classrooms and more extensive accommodation to cater to the increasing student numbers, with new intakes of up to 100 annually.