UBCO Global Nursing Citizens raise money through Paddle for Africa
Fourth year nursing students from UBCO have visited Ghana and Zambia every year since 2008.
They go on behalf of the university's Global Nursing Citizens: A non-profit organization focused on instilling humanitarianism in student nurses, educating the community on global issues and providing direct assistance to developing countries.
For many it is a practicum experience that broadens their world view; for Ghana and Zambia it is an opportunity to gain valuable medical training and receive helpful supplies.
The Global Nursing Citizens partnered with Kelowna Rent a Boat to host Paddle for Africa Saturday—a stand up paddleboarding event, which raised money for the cause.
Alanna Ekkert, a member of the Global Nursing Citizens executive committee, said money raised on the weekend will go directly toward supplies needed in Africa.
"All proceeds from (Saturday) will go toward medical supplies and training supplies. We will also bring money down for resources because it's often cheaper to buy supplies down there," said Ekkert.
"None of the proceeds will go to students getting down there—they pay for that individually."
When asked how important the nurses' presence in Ghana and Zambia is, Ekkert said: "The need is huge, especially for training."
According to Ekkert, the group brought down several neonatal resuscitation dolls last year for African nurses to practice with. Previously, unnecessary infant deaths would occur from situations like severe nasal congestion that wasn't properly treated, she added.
"By partnering with us, we're able to take the training down and take the equipment they can practice on.
"Even in the last year we got letters and pictures—there's been so much growth in their knowledge and scope of practice from doing this."
Ekkert said student interest in the trip has grown over the years; therefore, the Global Nursing Citizens are working to get more placements, including a possible practicum in India.
She noted Saturday's event was "encouraging" because several passersby gave donations even though they weren't interested in paddleboarding.
The group will wrap up the Paddle for Africa event Saturday night with a late night fundraiser boat ride on the Executive Boardroom.
For more information visit the group's Facebook page by searching Global Nursing Citizens.