UNIVERSITY OF SAN DIEGO / Fall 2008
[uganda]
Q & A: For the Children
School of Nursing leads hospital efforts

Anita Hunter is a lifesaver. The veteran certified nurse practitioner and director of USD’s master’s and international nursing program provides healthcare services around the world. Her résumé includes traveling twice a year for nine years to Ghana to run a clinic in the village of Sekond. By her estimation, those trips helped more than 60,000 people. Her most recent international project is putting forth the School of Nursing as a consultant for the development of a children’s hospital in Mbarara, Uganda.

SO, WHAT’S THE PROGRESS REPORT?

The hospital’s groundbreaking was on April 5. It looks like the first phase will be completed by the end of October with 60 beds, an outpatient department and a lab. People need to be hired and trained to do the work. I’m taking our 15 students in the Master’s Entry Nursing Program there in September as their community health project. They know it’s not going to be a walk in the park.

I’ll be back (in Uganda) in January; then, it’ll be a collaborative effort with science, peace studies and business students and faculty.

ON HOW WE GOT HERE FROM THERE:

Tom Thomas, a member of San Rafael Church in Rancho Bernardo and chair of the Holy Innocents Children’s Malaria Hospital NGO, and Father Bonaventure, a visiting priest at San Rafael Church who is from Mbarara, came to my office in 2006 and asked us to help them in a place where thousands of children die each year. Father Bonaventure said, “It’s like having a jumbo jet filled with children crashing every week for a year.” When you consider that, there’s a moral and ethical obligation to help.

WHAT’S THE SCHOOL OF NURSING’S ROLE?

We can reach far more people serving as consultants. We’re able to help develop training workshops for doctors and nurses who will eventually be hired to staff the hospital so they know what to do to take care of children. We’re far more effective if we can develop a community health education model. It’s about training the trainers.

ON MAKING AN IMPACT:

If I’m going to have students and faculty go, I want to make sure it changes their lives forever. I’ve noticed that in all the work I’ve done. You become a different person, you serve people differently, you respond to people differently and you know you’ve made a difference. Then you continue to make that difference every day of your life.

[as told to Ryan T. Blystone]