Sussex philanthropist Michael Chowen presented awards to students who completed the first paediatric nursing course in Zambia.
The course was developed by the University of Brighton’s partners in Zambia with support from the university’s School of Health Sciences and with funding from the Tropical Health Education Trust and the Brighton-Lusaka Health Link charity.
Mr Chowen and his wife Maureen helped sponsor the course and there were contributions from the Brighton and Sussex Universities Hospitals NHS Trust.
Jill Durrant, Senior Lecturer in the School of Health Sciences (child field), said: “It was an amazing occasion held in the Government offices in the capital, Lusaka. There were over 300 nurses graduating from different courses and from all over Zambia.
“All the nurses lit candles and sang a song about taking their candle to light the way in the darkness for their patients.”
Ms Durrant collected an Excellence in Community Engagement award at the university’s graduation ceremony, held at the Brighton Dome, for her year-long work in helping to develop the course.
She attended a stakeholders’ meeting while in Zambia with other members of the project team to discuss development of what would be the first neonatal course in Zambia. Team members were: Alison Taylor, Senior Lecturer in the School of Health Sciences; Lorraine Tinker, Directorate Lead Nurse-Children’s Services at Brighton and Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust; Faith Kayembe, Senior Lecturer, University of Christchurch Canterbury, and Mr and Mrs Chowen.
Ms Durrant said: “This is a very important issue – neonatal mortality at the University Teaching Hospital, Lusaka, has been as high as 60 per cent over the last year.”
Mr Chowen, CBE, was awarded a Doctor of Science by the University of Brighton in 2011 for his philanthropic activities in education in the Brighton area.