Advisor on Health Sciences, IUBAT, Bangladesh
Visiting Faculty Chair, Health Sciences, IUBAT
M. Alimullah Miyan
Professor, School of Public Policy, Simon Fraser University, Canada
Director, Mid-Main Community Health Centre
The Mid-Main Bangladesh Health Project began in 2003. BScN students in the IUBAT College of Nursing are taught by local faculty and visiting international volunteers. The first batch of students graduated in 2009. They are now working in hospitals, clinics and nursing colleges in Bangladesh and Nepal.
Mid-Main Community Health Centre is sponsoring this international project as a means to contribute to global development. Several of the Canadian volunteers on this project have also served on the Mid-Main Board of Directors. As a progressive service provider, Mid-Main wants to share its successful experiences and support international efforts for health improvement and economic development.
Mid-Main/Bangladesh Nurse Education Project
MODERN EDUCATION AND SUPPORT FOR FUTURE NURSING LEADERS
With 157 million residents, Bangladesh is among the world’s most densely populated countries. Despite significant progress in public health, day-to-day life for many Bangladeshis remains difficult. Improvements to health services are desperately needed.
The Mid-Main/Bangladesh Nurse Education Project is taking on one small piece of this challenge, ultimately working to improve population health through better nursing education.
Educating Nurses in Bangladesh
Working with IUBAT – International University of Business Agriculture and Technology, a non-profit, non-government university established in 1991, Canadian volunteers from the Mid-Main Community Health Centre in Vancouver have launched a nursing school. Students graduate with an officially-recognized Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. Instruction is provided in English. Students progress through four years of three trimesters each, with lectures, labs and workshops as well as practical experience in our partner teaching hospitals and community agencies.
How Will Nursing Education Improve Population Health?
Nurses in Bangladesh have traditionally been poorly-trained, underpaid, and disrespected as professionals. The better hospitals often hire nurses from out of country. Nurse educators in many other training institutes lack basic resources and may be out-of-touch with the skills to provide patient care. A major shift is needed, and indeed is taking place. Modern nurses need education about evidence-based practice, which emphasizes assessment, teamwork, professional comportment and communications. When education improves, practice standards are raised. The contribution of nurses is then recognized, better wages are expected, more student nurses are attracted to the profession – and patient care improves.
Beyond the Bedside…
As well as preparing student nurses for bedside practice at hospitals and health centres, the Bangladesh Health Project is developing future leaders of the profession and the health system itself. IUBAT grads learn how to train nurses and other healthcare workers. Many IUBAT graduates work as senior nurses, managers or college instructors. IUBAT grads also work in the country’s many non-government organizations, which focus on community-based services, such as maternal/child care. We also train other instructors and nurse managers with skills to support professional development in their own workplace. Finally, teaching materials developed for the IUBAT BScN program will be shared with other projects, further extending nursing education and healthcare knowledge.