Dixie State welcomes Tanzanian nurses to educational exchange program

Nurses present Dixie State University and Colom Foundation with Tanzanian artwork in appreciation for Dixie State's Tanzania Nurses Educational Exchange. Welcome reception, Dixie State's Russell C. Taylor Health Science Center, St. George, Utah, May 18, 2015 | Photo by, courtesy of Jared Madsen, Dixie State University Public Relations Department, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — After traveling for 30 hours and traversing 10,000 miles to reach St. George, 10 nurses from the United Republic of Tanzania received a warm reception Monday morning from members of the Dixie State University community and Utah Legislature.

Participants in Dixie State University’s Tanzania Nurses Educational Exchange take turns introducing themselves during a welcome reception at DSU’s Russell C. Taylor Health Science Center, St. George, Utah, May 18, 2015 | Photo by Jared Madsen, St. George News
Participants in Dixie State University’s Tanzania Nurses Educational Exchange take turns introducing themselves during a welcome reception at DSU’s Russell C. Taylor Health Science Center, St. George, Utah, May 18, 2015 | Photo by Jared Madsen, St. George News

“We will grow to love you, and I hope you will grow to love us too,” said William J. Christensen, DSU executive vice president and chief academic officer. “It will be hard to say goodbye, I can already see that.”

The nurses came to Southern Utah to participate in Dixie State’s seven-week Tanzania Nurses Educational Exchange. The nurses, clad in shirts depicting their country’s flag, took turns expressing their gratitude for the opportunity to learn new skills and knowledge relevant to their careers.

Hailing from communities throughout the eastern African country, the participants all shared a resolve to teach other nurses when they return home.

Selected from nearly 70 nurses who applied, the chosen professionals are receiving training to address Tanzania’s severe shortage of nursing tutors and inadequate resources in nursing schools.

The Dixie State Tanzania Nurses program, which has been made possible by the Colom Foundation and private donations obtained by Sen. Steve Urquhart, will build upon the nurses’ previously acquired training and skills.

The partnership between Dixie State’s Department of Nursing and nursing educational programs in Tanzania supports the Tanzania Global Health Initiative Strategy. The initiative aims to improve the health of all Tanzanians, especially those who are the most vulnerable: women, girls, newborns and children younger than 5.

Additionally, the Global Health Initiative supports the United Republic of Tanzania’s national health goal to reduce maternal, neonatal and childhood deaths. For every 100,000 live births in Tanzania, 450 mothers don’t survive childbirth. Comparatively, in the U.S., 28 of 100,000 mothers don’t survive.

The nurses will participate in advanced clinical experiences in local health care facilities, simulation scenario exercises and lectures on maternal-child health. Dixie Regional Medical Center in St. George will provide varied clinical experiences for the Tanzanian nurses with an emphasis on labor and delivery, postpartum, neonatal intensive, pediatric care and women’s healthcare nursing.

Officials at the welcoming ceremony, including university President Richard B. Williams and Dean of Dixie State’s School of Health Sciences Carole Grady, said the exchange is a mutually beneficial program.

In addition to looking forward to trying Tanzanian cuisine, the officials said they are excited for the nurses to teach them everything from Tanzanian medical practices to facts about the Tanzanians’ country, customs and culture.

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