(Montreal, April 9, 2008) Canadian Friends of Highlands Hope and McGill Nurses for Highlands Hope are moving into the second phase of the development of their project to support the networking and professional training of nurses working in hospitals and HIV-AIDS clinics in Africa.
The project links McGill University's School of Nursing with nurse-counsellors in the communities of Njombe and Makete in the Southern Highlands region of Tanzania. HIV-AIDS is creating great suffering and hardship there; estimates of HIV prevalence in the adult population range as high as 20% in the region and the majority of patients in hospitals the east African nation are living with the complications of AIDS.
"We are honoured to be working with the professional nurses of Highlands Hope of Tanzania and with nurse leaders like Betty Liduke from Njombe," says Madeleine Buck, Associate Director of the McGill School of Nursing. "We are very excited that we have completed our preliminary work of project development through the efforts of our two Highlands Hope Fellowship holders and are now integrating students from our School's Global Health Studies section into our efforts."
Nursing students Andra Leimanis and Jacqueline Bocking are studying Kiswahili and preparing the research/teaching projects that they will be taking to Tanzania in the fall of 2008 to implement with Highlands Hope of Tanzania and with the TANWAT Company Hospital in Njombe as part of their studies at the M.Sc level in Global Health.
"A growing number of globally conscious individuals are looking for a way to effect global health change," says Buck. "Many of these individuals have started looking towards nursing as a means to gain practical skills and knowledge that will enable them to work in international settings."
The McGill School of Nursing's two-year Global Health Studies option provides students with global health content throughout the program. Students complete their final year clinical component in an overseas placement to further help them to develop the skills needed to work internationally.
The Global Health Studies section sets out to prepare nurses for the challenges of working with diverse populations in limited resource environments with a philosophy stressing the importance of understanding the inherent power dynamics, equity issues and ethical dilemmas that arise through this work. It is based on a belief that we have much to learn from one another.
Ms. Leimanis and Ms. Bocking will be looking at home-based care and antiretroviral adherence challenges in TANWAT Company Hospital and Villages. The TANWAT Company Hospital in Njombe is a training partner with McGill's School of Nursing.
The work of these students extends efforts by McGill nurses Christina Clausen and Sylvie Lambert who went to Tanzania in 2006 and 2007 as McGill Nurses for Highlands Hope Fellowship holders. Ms. Clausen worked to identify opportunities for McGill University partnerships with Highlands Hope of Tanzania clinical agencies and Ms. Lambert developed and implemented a pilot training module on pain assessment and management with Highlands Hope nurses in Njombe that is a template for the development of the McGill School of Nursing Clinical Training Series that the Global Health Studies nurses will be building on next fall.
"It was a life and career-changing experience to go to Tanzania," says Highlands Hope Fellow Sylvie Lambert who is now pursuing post-doctoral studies in nursing. "Our colleagues in Africa face almost unimaginable challenges, but their spirit and dedication is an inspiration."
Canadian Friends of Highlands Hope is honoured to support McGill Nurses for Highlands Hope in their efforts to:
- Expand professional nursing relationships across continents.
- Provide instrumental resources to support sustainable Nursing projects originating from the Highlands Hope Nurse-Counsellor Network.
- To facilitate the Highlands Hope Nurse-Counsellor Network in establishing South-South funding sources and partnerships.
- To assist Highlands Hope Nurses in documenting and disseminating their knowledge and the outcomes of their nursing interventions.
- To provide educational and research opportunities for McGill University Nursing students.
For more information about Highlands Hope of Tanzania, visit their website at www.highlandshope.com. For interviews, contact:
Prof. Madeleine Buck
McGill School of Nursing, (514) 398-4155.
Canadian Friends of Highlands Hope, (819) 432-0420.