Dec. 6, 2004
By Andra Stevens*
MUTARE, Zimbabwe (UMNS) —Diplomats, government officials and local
church leaders joined students and staff for the dedication of Africa
University’s new Faculty of Health Sciences building Dec. 1.
|A UMNS photo by Andra Stevens
James Holsinger Jr. attended the dedication as guest of honor.
began with a worship service in the Kwang Lim Chapel, featuring the
Rev. Randy Day, chief executive of the United Methodist Board of Global
Ministries, as the guest preacher. Day’s sermon drew on current affairs
reporting on Africa to set the tone for the day and focus attention on
leadership as the key to Africa’s renewal.
United States Agency for International Development (USAID) supported
construction of the building with a grant of $1 million from its
American Schools and Hospitals Abroad program.
at the dedication ceremony, Christopher Dell, U. S. Ambassador to
Zimbabwe, noted that, as evidenced by the many Americans present,
USAID’s ongoing support for Africa University must be seen as an
expression of the will and selflessness of the American people.
his remarks, Dell challenged the students to remember “…that it is not
just about what goes on in this pile of bricks and mortar. It’s not just
about what your teachers teach you out of textbooks. There is another
spirit at work here too and it’s the people of the United States—who not
out of interest in anything for themselves except doing good, that have
made possible this education and who are sharing with you this dream
about the future, a better future for Africa.”
$1.8 million Faculty of Health Sciences facility is the fourth building
on the campus of the United Methodist-related university in Zimbabwe,
to be constructed with funds from USAID. It houses a health sciences
library collection and laboratories for teaching as well as research on
HIV/AIDS and malaria. Seminar rooms, lecture theaters, offices and a
cold room make up the rest of the building.
On hand for the formal opening and dedication of the building were two
members of the eight-member team that investigated and helped to plan
the faculty of health sciences at Africa University-- James Holsinger
Jr. and Mackie Norris.
|A UMNS photo by Andra Stevens
Bishop Nkulu Ntanda Ntambo (left) and Christopher Dell at the dedication of Africa University's Faculty of Health Sciences.
the former chancellor of the Chandler Medical Center at the University
of Kentucky and now serving as Secretary for Health for the Commonwealth
of Kentucky, attended the dedication as the guest of honor. He led the
feasibility study team that recommended priorities and a plan for the
health sciences faculty to the board of directors of Africa University
his address, Holsinger highlighted three key qualities of
transformational leadership as he urged the students to view themselves
as people of influence, able to demonstrate commitment and caring and to
inspire and involve others in changing their organizations and nations.
noted that the faculty’s reason for being was to develop health
leadership for the continent. Placing a high priority of disciplines
such as nursing, public health and environmental health, he said,
enables the school to have a more immediate and positive impact on the
people of Africa.
faculty’s pioneer class is made up of 10 students. Three are from the
Democratic Republic of Congo and the rest from Zimbabwe. The group began
training in nursing and public health earlier this year.
of the 10, mainly registered practicing nurses and midwives with at
least two years of professional working experience, are undertaking a
post-basic bachelor of science in nursing. All of these students have
nursing and midwifery diplomas and are upgrading their professional
knowledge and attempting to advance academically. The two remaining
students are enrolled in the post-graduate diploma program in public
health that was launched in September.
students that are currently enrolled are just marvelous,” said Norris,
former associate professor of nursing at the Nell Hodgson Woodruff
School of Nursing at Emory University, Atlanta and Dillard University,
New Orleans. “They have caught the vision, they have caught the spirit
and the philosophy that the team developed for the faculty and it will
be their voices that will help increase enrollment and tell the story to
others about the goals of Africa University’s Faculty of Health
conviction was echoed in the statement of appreciation from one of the
students, Kasombo Tshiani from the Democratic Republic of Congo. “Our
hope and prayer is that Africa University and its Faculty of Health
Sciences will make a big contribution by training medical and allied
health personnel for many African countries who will be the cornerstone
of building a dynamic health care delivery system and the key to solving
health-related problems in Africa and in the rest of the world,” he
new building is a major boost to pan-African efforts to train badly
needed medical and allied health professionals. It is also helping to
kick-start the teaching, research and outreach work of a very young but
critical faculty at Africa University.
faculty is already managing two important outreach projects that target
young people with HIV/AIDS awareness training and supports orphans and
vulnerable children. As it develops, the faculty plans to launch a
bachelor’s degree in health sciences and to begin offering training in
health informatics, biostatistics and social medicine.
Faculty of Health Sciences is the sixth of seven faculties slated for
development on Africa University’s master plan. The university already
offers undergraduate and post-graduate programs in agriculture and
natural resources, education, humanities and social sciences, management
and administration, and theology.
offered are post-graduate diplomas and master’s degrees through the
Institute of Peace, Leadership and Governance. USAID has already
approved a grant of $1.8 million for a building for the Institute.
Construction is expected to begin in January 2005.
University is the only United Methodist-related university on the
continent. It opened in 1992 and currently has a total enrolment of
1,283 students from 21 African countries. The university has been
supported by United Methodist churches through an apportioned fund of
US$10 million every four years since 1988 as well as designated gifts.
has also received significant support for academic, capital, outreach
and service projects from a number of organizations including the
Kellogg and Rockefeller Foundations and the United Nations Development
*Stevens is director of information and public affairs at Africa University.
News media contact: Kathy L. Gilbert, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or firstname.lastname@example.org.