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About Us

The Harry Crossley Children's Nursing Development Unit (CNDU) is a nurse-led Teaching and Scholarship Unit in the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health at The University of Cape Town, situated at Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa. We work with interdisciplinary colleagues from both academic and clinical settings to strengthen the practice of children's nursing across Sub-Saharan Africa.

In 2006, CNDU commenced with a task to re-establish children’s nursing training at the University of Cape Town (UCT).  This brief has been fulfilled and CNDU scope of activity has broadened to a point where we are now a leading partner building the children’s nursing workforce in Africa.

We are Building Children’s Nursing for Africa in Africa by:

  1. Educating Children's Nurses @UCT
  2. Education Practice Development
  3. Clinical Practice Development
  4. Building the Evidence for Education, Practice and Policy

To read about our latest activities, click to read the 2020 Annual Report

Our Values

Underpinning this work is a deep-seated commitment to:

Strategic alignment: Our partnership approach places importance on securing active engagement from national ministries of health and education as well as nursing regulators and employers. CNDU’s research has shown that national governments in the countries we partner with are prioritising child health and are committed to building the specialist nursing workforce. We are working to produce evidence to assist employers and service planners in making informed decisions based on accurate workforce information.

Contextual alignment: To be effective, nurse learning must be aligned with local context. Almost 75% of childhood deaths in African countries are due to six conditions: neonatal causes (preterm birth, asphyxia and infections), pneumonia, diarrhoea and malaria, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and measles. Our approach equips nurses with the skills and knowledge to manage these conditions effectively and improve child survival, working within the practicalities of lower-resourced high-demand settings. We also know that nurses need to work in systems that support them. We work with partners to develop career pathing and education and employment frameworks that support a sustainable workforce.  

Developing leaders: Every nurse takes valuable knowledge, skills and experience back to their home clinical settings. We know that leading sustained improvements in the quality and safety of care means that nurses need to be able to shift long-held mindsets and ways of working in teams and institutions. We work with students and graduates to help them develop as leaders and we are proud of the many graduates who take on leadership roles within teams, facilities, institutions and even national bodies, using their voices to bring about improvements in the care of sick and injured children.

Our Five Year Strategy: 2019-2023

Our current five year strategy is centred on growing and building the community of African nurses,  educators. and change-leaders, because we know: ‘If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together’. The impact of this, as identified in our theory of change model, will be a strengthened children’s nursing workforce working to best possible effect in Africa’s healthcare systems – leading to improved infant and child health outcomes in Africa.