By JOHN KOMBE
GOVERNMENT has ordered that student nurses must not be left unsupervised during practice in any department of a health facility.
Ministry of Health spokesperson, Joseph Kabalo, said Government’s policy was that all students allocated to health facilities must always be supervised.
He said that the trainees must not be delegated with any duties without supervision and guidance by qualified personnel.
Dr Kabalo was reacting to complaints raised by some patients who alleged that senior health personnel in some health facilities had a tendency of leaving duties with students, thereby compromising the quality of health care delivery.
A woman who lost her day-old baby at Chongwe District Hospital about a fortnight ago, alleged that she was delivered by a student nurse who did not cut the umbilical cord in a proper manner.
She claimed that her baby died due to negligence by the midwives who left her in the care of a student.
The woman was said to have reported the matter to the district administration in Chongwe.
A source said that the mother had threatened to sue Government for allegedly causing the death of her baby because of what she described as gross negligence.
Dr Kabalo promised that the ministry would investigate the matter to ascertain its authenticity and cause of the alleged death.
He pointed out that the health profession was delicate and required strict adherence to stipulated guidelines.
Dr Kabalo explained that even after college or university health personnel go through internship that also requires supervision.
He said that in as much as students were assigned to health facilities, this did not in any way make them competent enough to handle duties without supervision.
Dr Kabalo said that supervision of students pursuing any health-related course had been the practice in all health institutions and as such must be upheld.
“Even personnel like doctors on internship are supervised. The policy of the government is that all student nurses and others are closely supervised by qualified and competent health personnel. This is the standard practice and has been since time immemorial,” he said.