UBC Okanagan's largest-ever nursing team prepares for Ghana

The largest-ever group of UBC Okanagan students to travel to Ghana -- 24 fourth-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) students -- will make the journey to Africa next February, taking with them medications, paediatric equipment, laptop computers, books, and school supplies.

To raise funds, the BSN students and faculty are holding a benefit banquet on Saturday, Nov. 24, at St. Pius X Hall, 1077 Fuller Ave. in Kelowna.

The evening includes an Italian dinner, live Latin jazz entertainment by Trevor Salloum and Major Mambo, a silent auction, door prizes, and a presentation by the Ghana Sisters -- nurses who visited Ghana last spring.

The University for Development Studies and the Ministry of Health in Northern Ghana have hosted more than 30 students from the School of Nursing over the past eight years. Last spring, 17 students visited the region through this transcultural nursing project.

The 24 students traveling in February 2008 will practice with Ghanaian nurse practitioner graduates in hospitals, community placements and rural and remote clinics. They will also participate in the classroom and practice teaching for the current class of nurse practitioners.

This opportunity for practice in Ghana is a result of a partnership begun eight years ago when School of Nursing Director Joan Bassett-Smith received funding from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) to establish a Rural Nurse Practitioner program at the University for Development Studies (UDS) in Tamale, Northern Ghana.

The School of Nursing has since received further funding for a Community Development Management Training Program with the same university. As a result of this long-term relationship, the School of Nursing has assisted five Nurse Practitioner graduates from UDS to obtain their Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees in Kelowna.

"This ongoing learning partnership between UBC Okanagan nursing students, faculty and Ghanaian nurses provides opportunities for the development of nurse leaders, education in all aspects of community health, and collaboration between international communities," says Assoc. Professor Fay Karp, who will accompany the students to Ghana.

The funding provided by UBC Okanagan nursing students will support the work of nurses in rural Northern Ghana. These rural nurses work with communities to develop economic and educational opportunities for communities so that the people of Northern Ghana can then have paid work, feed their children and develop health care facilities in their own villages.

Tickets for the Nov. 24 fund-raiser banquet are available in advance for $30. Contact Carolan Henry at 869-2601 or Kelley Morrissey at 869-7423. The team also seeks silent auction items, medical and education supplies for Ghanaian clinics and hospitals, and cash donations that will be applied to specific health-care projects identified by Ghanaian communities.

If you’d like to support the team with a donation, contact them at Ghana-africa@hotmail.com or call Morrissey or Henry at the above numbers.

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