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Rebuild Healthcare in Rwanda

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Howard University, Five Other Nursing Institutions to Rebuild Healthcare in Rwanda this Summer Cheylin Parker Communications Officer College of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences WASHINGTON (Feb. 27)-- Howard University Division of Nursing in the College of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences is wrapping up the initial planning meetings for a program this summer that will provide training and help to Rwandan schools of nursing. Mary Hill, Ph.D., dean of the college, returned to Howard University from Rwanda recently after a four-day planning meeting with the Rwanda Ministry of Health and five other American nursing schools. “It was a wonderful educational experience,” Hill said. “It’s an excellent opportunity for us to fulfill our mission in terms of global health.” Howard University and nursing schools at the University of Maryland, University of Texas, New York University, Duke University and the University of Illinois at Chicago will be sending health professionals to the African nation to support nursing education and clinical teaching for nursing and midwifery in Rwandan nursing schools. The clinicians and educators will serve one-year to seven-year stints providing education, clinical training, mentorship, training in nursing and midwifery, research experience and opportunities for advanced specialized. The schools will be working through the Rwanda Human Resources Health Program: Partnership with Government of Rwanda, Ministry of Health, which is funded through the Clinton Health Initiative. Having a historically black university as part of the mission is important, Hill said “When people see a face that looks like them, you get a different smile, a different response,” she said. “And that’s why it’s so important that Howard is at the table. ” The schools are helping the African nation because Rwanda severely lacks highly qualified health professionals who can provide care and training. Hill said that the healthcare in Rwanda is not as advanced as the healthcare in the United States. “The training is very much needed,” Hill said. “In order to have a healthy country, you have to have healthy people.” The institutions will send a variety of educators and nurses. Howard University is eligible to send up to seven people a year for the program, but this year, Hill said, the institution will only send one, Melissa Weir, a registered nurse instructor. “I’m sending the best, and I’m sure she’ll have a tremendous impact on moving the education curriculum in Rwanda,” Hill said. Weir has worked in Botswana, Africa and Hill said that Weir has a deep awareness of curriculum and development in that area. Anne Brenner, coordinator of the Office of Global Health at the University of Maryland, said the program is currently looking to recruit health professionals that have worked extensively in the field. “The majority of the positions are for high-level deans or experienced faculty,” Brenner said. But according to Hill, that may change. “The projected plan is to have students involved in the program,” Hill

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Rebuild Healthcare in Rwanda

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“The projected plan is to have students involved in the program,” Hill said. “The issue of student experience is on the table and under discussion.” The first group will travel to Rwanda on Aug. 3 and will work there for a year. The ministry’s main goal is to establish a center for excellence in quality care and a center for excellence in education. The ministry’s goal reflects how close Howard and Rwanda are despite their geographical distance, Hill said. “We have more similarities than differences in what we are trying to achieve,” she said. “We also want to provide excellence in quality care and education." NOTE: Applications to participate in the program next year are available on the College of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences website. Those who participate in the program will become an employee for Howard University during their Rwandan appointment. Participants are paid and can also choose to receive international healthcare.

Dean Mary Hill met with many Rwandan officials, nurses, educators and students during her week-long trip to the nation. The Division of Nursing and five other nursing schools from across the nation will be sending educators to the country this summer to assist in the training of its nurses and nursing educators.

Howard University, Division of Nursing 516 Bryant Street N.W. Washington, D.C. 20059

Last Updated on: September 6, 2012

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Rebuild Healthcare in Rwanda  

Chey reports on Howard University's efforts to rebuild healthcare in Rwanda