New York University College of Nursing (NYUCN) today joins a consortium of nursing, medical, and public health colleges to assist the government of Rwanda in dramatically rebuilding its health care system over the next seven years. The pioneering program, Human Resources for Health (HRH), is led by Rwanda’s Ministry of Health and facilitated with the support of the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI).
New York University College of Nursing (NYUCN) today joins a consortium of nursing, medical, and public health colleges to assist the government of Rwanda in dramatically rebuilding its health care system over the next seven years. The pioneering program, Human Resources for Health (HRH), is led by Rwanda’s Ministry of Health and facilitated with the support of the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI). NYUCN will be on the ground floor as one of a handful of colleges of nursing enlisted to contribute to this expansive goal.
HRH’s ambitious seven-year schedule will seek to address Rwanda’s critical shortage of medical, nursing, and dental workers; poor quality of health professions education; inadequate infrastructure; and inadequate management of health facilities. NYUCN will be sending 12 nurse mentors and educators to Rwanda for the academic 2012-13 year.
Funding for the project to the Rwandan government comes from the US Government (including: PEPFAR, USAID and CDC) and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Former President Bill Clinton was instrumental in the development of this program. NYUCN is one of 13 top U.S. educational institutions chosen as part of this unprecedented educational consortium to meet the challenges to quality health care in Rwanda.
Deborah Chyun, PhD, RN, FAHA, FAAN, associate professor, interim executive associate dean, and deputy executive director of NYUCN Global, is leading this project at NYUCN.
“Advancing the nurse workforce and nursing education is a primary target of the project, said Chyun. “Rwanda has pledged to substantially boost the skill level of nurses by establishing an advanced certificate (following three years of secondary school) as the minimum credential for nursing practice,” she said.
Rwanda is also committed to increasing the number of nurses and midwives with advanced certificates five-fold to over 5,000 and multiplying the number of nurses with bachelor’s and master’s degrees to provide much-needed faculty. NYUCN and several other U.S. colleges of nursing have pledged to hire clinical faculty to teach and mentor faculty in Rwanda.
“Rwanda needs to build a strong and sustainable nursing education system and the support of the 13 US schools participating in the Rwanda HRH Program is crucial. New York University’s College of Nursing has a pivotal role in supporting the Rwanda HRH Program as the largest contributor in the nursing sector among the 13 US schools. Through this long-term partnership between NYUCN and Rwanda’s Ministry of Health, we will work hand-in-hand to revolutionize Rwanda’s health care system and develop unprecedented global health opportunities at NYUCN. I welcome NYUCN’s faculty here in Rwanda this month,” said Rwanda’s Honorable Minister of Health, Dr. Agnes Binagwaho.
“Experienced academic nurses will help Rwandan colleagues train health care managers and help build the national health care infrastructure, addressing regulatory issues, instituting simulation education, and developing the roles of nursing college deans and nursing directors,” said Chyun.
“This is a game-changing approach to human resources for health systems strengthening in Rwanda,” says Ann Kurth, PhD, CNM, FAAN, professor of nursing and director of NYUCN Global.
Rwanda, as other developing nations, experiences what the World Health Organization calls “the double burden of disease.” It faces not only the classic developing-world challenges of AIDS, malaria, malnutrition, and high infant mortality, but also, as urbanization increases, more chronic disease resulting from lack of physical activity and changes in diet. A well-educated nursing workforce is critical to meet these challenges, and HRH will yield nurses capable of providing excellent patient and community education.
“What’s also exciting is that we have the opportunity, through this initiative, to provide the knowledge and skills that may drive national policies to prevent non-communicable diseases—specifically cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer—through promotion of healthy lifestyle habits, which is something we have not been able to do in the United States,” Chyun says.
Chyun visited Rwanda in May 2011 and February 2012 to meet with nursing colleagues there, and College of Nursing faculty have also met with U.S. State Department officials to support the grant application. Once international funding is phased out, there should be sufficient Rwandan educators, infrastructure, and domestic funding to sustainably support the health care system and health sciences education system.
If you or your colleagues are interested in participating in this exciting opportunity (www.hrhconsortium.moh.gov.rw), please contact Deborah Chyun (firstname.lastname@example.org) as she continues to hire faculty for this historic project!
The New York University College of Nursing is a global leader in nursing education, research, and practice. It offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing; Master of Arts and Post-Master’s Certificate Programs; a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree; and a Doctor of Philosophy in Research Theory and Development. For more information, visit www.nyu.edu/nursing.