Highlands Hope Umbrella and the McGill University School of Nursing have been partnering for several years to enhance care through research, skills development, and advocacy with HIV activists and patients in the southern Tanzanian town of Njombe.
Last year, two McGill nursing students, Kristin Gagnon and Ryan Lomenda, undertook projects developed by local activists led by Tanzanian nurse Betty Liduke that trained volunteers in basic home-based care for AIDS patients and which undertook an exhaustive investigation of awarenss of HIV among primary school stucents in several Njombe area schools.
The preliminary results of that major study (to be published in a peer-reviewed journal in 2012) revealed low levels of awareness and knowledge. As a result, the local activist group that sponsored the research, CHAKUNIMU, has asked the McGill School of Nursing and Vesna Papuga to work with them to train selected primary school students as peer health educators, an approach that has worked very well with adults in village and workplace settings in Njombe.
The effort is being coordinated by associate director of the School of Nursing, Prof. Madeleine Buck, and the Coordinator of Highlands Hope Umbrella, Betty Liduke.