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African Nurses Lead the Way in Assuming Tasks previously Undertaken by Doctors

Out of necessity, African nurses expanded their scope of practice in ways that only occurred decades later in countries with more resources. An example is in the prescribing of medication which was always the province of doctors, few of whom practice in rural and remote areas. In Ethiopia nurses in rural and remote areas carry out caesarean sections. And in countries like South Africa, Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, and Zambia, there are clinical specialist roles in nursing and midwifery such as critical care nursing, palliative care nursing and perioperative nursing among many others. Increasingly, the profession has moved to become autonomous, self-regulated, research-focused, and centred on the needs of the population. This ability to move beyond traditional Western models of care has been important in the management of the disease profile of Africa, where geographical location has added to the burden of disease not found in developed countries.