From Preston to Zambia: what can student children’s nurses learn from a two-week placement?

Linda Sanderson1, James Meek1, Debbie Brittain1, Abigail Heath2
and Zoe Wood2
1Senior Lecturers and 2Student Nurses, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK

Sexual and reproductive health (SRH) promotion aimed at children and young people is particularly relevant in Zambia as a high proportion of the population of children and adolescents are HIV positive (150,000) or AIDS orphans (600,000) [1]. The majority of Zambian children and young people will have been infected with HIV perinatally or as a result of abuse, blood transfusions or contaminated needles [2]. Effective and increasingly available antiretroviral treatment (ART) is contributing to the healthy development of children and young people in Zambia. These young people require appropriate SRH advice and guidance so they can make informed and responsible choices about relationships, contraception and disclosure of their HIV status. Hodgson et al. [3] highlight the challenge of providing such SRH education in Zambia.
In 2014 a group of students and a lecturer from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) undertook a project in Zambia to promote sexual health and to provide specific knowledge and skills around HIV and sexual health promotion to community peer leaders, which they could then deliver within their own communities [4]. Further funding was secured in 2015 to return to Zambia with a group of students to build and expand upon the 2014 project. In 2015 the project extended to include eight sexual health students, two child nursing students and two students studying photography, accompanied by two nursing lecturers. The 2015 project again worked with Sport in Action, a non-governmental organisation which delivers sporting activities through a network of peer educators in schools across Zambia. Sport in Action wanted to continue to incorporate sexual health promotion alongside sport and the university project trained community peer leaders and worked directly with young people in schools. Read more. . .