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On-line version ISSN 2309-8392
Print version ISSN 0018-229X


MASAKURE, Clement. "One of the most serious problems confronting us at present": Nurses and government hospitals in Southern Rhodesia, 1930s to 1950. Historia [online]. 2015, vol.60, n.2, pp.109-131. ISSN 2309-8392.

At the centre of enquiry of this article is the nexus between the problem of the shortage of nursing personnel and provision of healthcare services in Southern Rhodesia from the mid-1930s to 1950. The article interrogates the causes of the shortage and its effects on nurses, patients and hospitals. It also investigates various responses by the Rhodesian government. I suggest that both internal and external factors were responsible for the shortage. Whereas colonial policies that were influenced by racial and gender ideologies of the day were partly responsible, equally important was Rhodesia's reliance on foreign nurses, and the Second World War which accelerated the pace of urbanisation among Africans and in the process stretched health resources in urban areas. Such an examination is significant in analysing nurses' everyday work and the provision healthcare services, and is important in exploring how the problem forced the responsible authorities to readjust the nursing policy. Efforts at improving the situation opened the way for the Rhodesian government to train African nurses. This began in 1958 and was a move that gradually transformed the structure of Southern Rhodesian Nursing Services.

Keywords : shortage of nurses; provision of health services; hospitals; Southern Rhodesia.

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