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HIAMS Expands Partner Collaboration To Build Student Capacity 

By Azore Opio — The Higher Institute of Applied Medical Sciences (HIAMS) has expanded collaboration with her clinical partners and other stakeholders in an effort to build student capacity and satisfy mutual needs.

Last week (October 1-5), HIAMS, at her institute in Buea, Southwest Region, received Mrs. Claire Atterbury, a specialist nurse in haematology and blood transfusion at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Norfolk, UK, and Catherine Delves-Yates, a nursing lecturer from the University of East Anglia (UEA). With 25 years of practice and clinical teaching experience, Mrs. Atterbury and Catherine Delves-Yates spent a week teaching a combined class of HIAMS second and third-year nursing and medical laboratory students.

“We are trying to work out a short and long-term volunteering programme that would attract professionals from the UK to come and work in Cameroon while enjoying their vacation,” Mrs. Atterbury said. She added, “We want to make things better for the people in our community; for them to live more comfortably.” Mrs. Atterbury said she used her own funds supplemented by her hospital and VIROF PHARMA to travel to Cameroon and give lectures at HIAMS as well as UB.

The week-long working visit was in response to HIAMS’s quest, among other things, to extend her programme to cover other departments at UEA. “We also wish to set up a charity in the UK to secure funds for staff and student exchanges and instituting a Work Holiday Scheme (WHS) for professionals from the UK wishing to spend their holidays in Cameroon,” said the Executive President and Founder HIAMS, Michael Boyo.

According to him, expanding their nursing education programmes to include a working holiday scheme at the institute will provide opportunities for HIAMS students to gain knowledge and experience collaborating with colleagues in the hospital and community to provide comprehensive compassionate care to sick patients.

“In 2007, I and Dr. Sylvester Ndeso Atanga, former Head of Department, Nursing, University of Buea (UB) and present Director of HIAMS, met with Dr. Gibson D’Cruz and Mrs. Delves-Yates Allen Catherine, both of UEA School of Nursing and Midwifery, through Lucy Bawak, a Senior Nurse Educator.

A team, which included Dr. Mary Bih Suh Atanga, now Head of Department Nursing (UB), was rapidly formed to revolutionise the training of nurses in Cameroon,” Boyo said. HIAMS uses a network of clinical partners and other stakeholders in nursing care-giving to produce graduates that are lifelong learners and highly employable, through early and persistent exposure to clinical practice, enquiry-based learning and practical skills acquisition.

It is in this light that the British Government through the British Council funded two projects conceived by the HIAMS team with the following outcomes: development and implementation of pre-registration nursing curriculum at HIAMS and five other institutions in Cameroon, development and implementation of a Master’s Degree programme in Nursing Education at the University of Buea and the development of a home and community worker curriculum for the Ministry of Employment and Vocational Training.

HIAMS Executive President says they are vigorously implementing the new nursing curriculum under the supervision of Mrs. Sheila Esoh Bassah, Mrs. Edna Metuge and Mrs. Florence Nkemayim, “all senior nurse educators trained through our partnership with UEA and UB.”

“Our partnership has started bearing fruits with the best HND graduates this year coming from HIAMS. On the Bachelor’s Degree front, HIAMS now offers BTech. programmes in Nursing and Medical Laboratory Sciences with the University of Buea. HIAMS has succeeded in transferring all the good practices learnt from implementing the British Council funded nursing curriculum to Medical Laboratory Sciences and Ultrasonography (Echography) training,” Boyo told The Post.

He said, early this year, HIAMS applied for an extension to open a Higher Institute of Applied Engineering and Business Studies (HIAEBS), which seeks to mobilise and empower a new class of engineers and entrepreneurs for the rapid economic growth of Cameroon. “HIAMS has also started constructing a modern facility at Wokaka Village (behind Upper Muea on the road to Lysoka) to house HIAMS and HIAEBS.

“Above all, our students receive lectures from top-notch UK health professionals from UEA here in Cameroon for free; something they would have otherwise paid a fortune for, if they decided to study in the UK. We are particularly grateful to Gibson, Kate and Claire for their wonderful support to HIAMS,” said Boyo.

First published in The Post print edition no 01381

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