Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. Partners to Train Nurses

Books donated to the library at Espérance College of Nursing Source: Presbyterian Mission

By 2030, the World Health Organization is projecting there will be a shortfall of 18 million healthcare workers worldwide. In low income countries like the Republic of Niger, this is expected to exacerbate an already overwhelmed healthcare system.  In Niger, there is only one nurse or nurse midwife for every 10,000 people.

Ranking 189th on the United Nations Human Development Index, Niger has the highest fertility and population growth rates in the world.

To address this shortfall, in November 2019, the Presbyterian World Mission’s partner, The Evangelical Church of the Republic of Niger (EERN), opened Espérance College of Nursing in Niger’s capital of Niamey.

On opening day, Jodi McGill, a Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) missionary serving in Niger expressed her excitement. “We were finally able to begin educating nurses and putting a dream into action,” Jodi said. “It was also terrifying because the students, teachers and patients were placing their trust in the ability of the school not only to educate the students but also to instill in them a desire to serve others and an ability to be critical thinkers.”

Using the curriculum of the West African Health Organization, Jodi and other instructors have been teaching the next generation of Nigerien nurses to meet future demand. 

A bilingual school, Espérance College of Nursing uses its connection to both the English and French speaking world to identify instructors, healthcare professionals, and others to assist students and raise funds to support the college’s work.

The COVID-19 pandemic briefly halted operations at Espérance for several months last year, but the school is now fully reopened.

“This year the EERN University has added 10 students to its first-year class. Five are studying nursing, three are studying medical biology and two are studying community development,” Jodi said. “The first-year nursing students are entering their second year and have taken the first-year students under their wings.”

Jodi believes this is “God’s work not ours.” Optimistic about the college’s future, Jodi and her colleagues are just looking forward to doing their part.

Source: Presbyterian Mission