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"Zanmi Lasante Nurses Return from Intensive Training in Rwanda,

equipped to Enhance Patient Care at HUM"

In February of 2023, a group of 30 nurses hailing from 8 different countries gathered in Rwanda to partake in an intensive fellowship program. Among them were three nurses from Haiti, Thamar Julmiste, Gretta Joseph, and Ruth Butair who represented Zanmi Lasante (ZL) in Rwanda. Their objective was to acquire practical leadership skills during the program, which they could then share with the nurses and midwives they work with in Haiti.

Gretta Joseph, a member of ZL's nursing team since 2009, had been eagerly awaiting this trip for two years, but it was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Finally, the opportunity finally arose, and Gretta couldn’t contain her happiness: "It was such a big deal. There was so much effort put into working with us and so much patience, just so that we could participate in the program in Rwanda," she shared.

The Global Nurse Executive Fellowship is a global fellowship program for nurse executives through Partners in Health (PIH). Extending over a period of 12 months, the main objective of this program is the training of senior nurses but also the creation of a network of leading nurses within the institution. Having started in 2017, 13 nurses from 6 countries have already successfully completed this program. By May 2023, 8 more will be added to this list. The one-year program includes three intensive one-week bootcamps, a year-long curriculum, and a capstone project that aims to improve patient outcomes and care delivery.

It was the first time since 2018 that these health professionals had been able to meet in person as part of this program. Through a series of site visits, discussions and days of reflection, together they were able to identify innovative solutions for the network of nurse managers in 8 countries. "We have acquired a model to reproduce in Haiti", says Miss Thamar Julmiste who joined HUM in 2017 and currently manages ZL’J9 project.

Miss Ruth Butair found the experience to be highly inspiring. She shares:

"I gained a lot of knowledge and skills that I can implement at HUM. We worked collaboratively to find innovative solutions for our patients."

The three participants observed many similarities between Rwanda and Haiti, especially in regards to health care challenges. For instance, both countries had faced issues with high neonatal mortality rates. Haiti currently holds the highest rate in the Caribbean, with rates ranging between 22 to 26% at HUM. Gretta explains, "They shared their protocol with us, which we can use to update our own procedures and address the flaws in our system more effectively."

The nurses identified specific changes to implement at HUM. Chief among them is the sharing of information between nurses and patients. They immediately agreed on the idea of developing a document to inform patients and their close family of their rights.

Patients need to be more involved in the care they receive,” says Miss Ruth. Although there is already a close relationship between PIH Haiti and Rwanda as there have been trainings for Haitian medical professionals in Rwanda in the past, participants want this program to be a catalyst for even more learning opportunities.

Miss Gretta expresses admiration for the work done in Rwanda despite limited resources, saying:

"They manage to achieve so many positive things with so little means. I firmly believe that we can do the same in Haiti."

She remains hopeful and optimistic about the potential for change and improvement.


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