Six months after an earthquake in Haiti drastically altered the future of the small Caribbean country, news of its recovery indicated slow, unsteady progress. But behind the scenes, organizers at the Haiti Nursing Foundation were taking steps to create something good out of a tragedy - more nursing education in Haiti.
With the goal of restoring and improving nursing education in Haiti, over 50 professionals will gather Aug. 20-22 in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, including members of the World Health Organization/Pan American Health Organization (WHO/PAHO), the Haitian Ministry of Health and many nursing educators from both Haiti and the U.S.
"Before the earthquake, there was only one nurse for every 10,000 Haitians, compared to 94 nurses for every 10,000 people in the U.S.," said Rosemarie Rowney, President of the Haiti Nursing Foundation. "Sadly, nurses, nursing students and nursing schools were lost in the earthquake, making the ratio even worse at a time when nurses are needed most."
Symposium speakers include Silvina Malvarez, Regional Advisor on Nursing and Allied Health Personnel Development, PAHO, who will discuss international standards for nursing education. Malvarez will also hold a pre-conference session with members of the WHO Nursing Collaborating Centers to develop strategies for comprehensive collaboration.
Richard Garfield, Professor of Clinical International Nursing, Columbia University in the City of New York, will also speak, giving an analysis of what has and has not been achieved in rebuilding nursing systems in countries with major conflict or disasters. He brings a wealth of experience from his work in Tsunami-affected countries, Liberia and Sierra Leone in Africa, Iraq and Afghanistan.
"This is going to be an amazing opportunity to share ideas with nursing professionals who bring a wide variety of expertise to the symposium," Rowney said. "It is an important, strategic step for Haiti's nursing education future."
Haiti Nursing Foundation (HNF) was founded in 2005 to serve as a means to advance nursing in Haiti, and to provide support to the Faculte des Sciences Infirmieres [de Leogane] l'Universite Episcopale d'Haiti (Faculty of Nursing Science of the Episcopal University of Haiti or FSIL in Leogane).