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CNA welcomes NANB as mentors in its international health partnerships.

* Burkina Faso

Canadian health professionals, including registered nurses, have the right and responsibility to raise awareness of the root causes of inequality in global health and to participate in finding solutions. (1) One of the ways the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) does this is through Strengthening Nurses, Nursing Networks and Associations Program (SNNNAP), a program funded by the Canadian Government through the Canadian International Development Agency.

Since 2002, CNA has been working through SNNNAP with national nursing associations in El Salvador, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Nicaragua, Vietnam and a regional nursing network in southern Africa with a goal to: enhance the contribution of the nursing profession to strengthen health policy, specifically in the areas of HIV and AIDS and primary health care; improve nursing practice and care through regulation of the profession; build the leadership skills of nurses; and, deepen the public recognition of the important contribution of this largely female profession to the health system and health status of the population.

In 2008, CNA is pleased to welcome two new partner organizations to SNNNAP, national nursing associations from Burkina Faso and Senegal. The importance of the continuation of international partnerships such as these cannot be overstated; advances in health do not occur overnight, it takes years of hard work by dedicated health professionals, such as nurses, to do so in a sustainable manner.

Collaboration, cooperation and communication among all health professionals are key to advancing an agenda to improve global health and equity. SNNNAP provides technical assistance and targeted skills building to support international partners' work, including making global linkages and sharing expertise among Canadian and international nurses and nursing organizations.

Canadian nurses play a key role in the delivery of technical assistance through mentoring. CNA mentors provide ongoing advice and assistance to international partners in the area's of regulatory framework development for the nursing profession, such as codes of ethics, and standards of practice, advocating for improved working conditions for nurses, improving standards of nursing education and capacity building such as member registration and organizational governance. For example the Association of Registered Nurses of Newfoundland/Labrador (ARNNL) has been paired with the Vietnam Nurses Association (VNA) since 2003. During that time, ARNNL staff has worked with VNA in Vietnam and in Canada on regulatory issues such as developing a scope of practice and membership registration. For the last five years, the Saskatchewan Registered Nurses Association has provided assistance to the Indonesian National Nurses Association to develop a nursing act to regulate the nursing profession nationally; the act has been drafted and is awaiting government approval.

CNA is pleased to welcome the Nurses Association of New Brunswick as its newest mentor for the recently formed national nursing association in Burkina Faso, L'Association Professionnelle des Infirmiers/eres du Burkina (APIIB). NANB will share its expertise and experience with APIIB as it enters its first year of a four-year project. APIIB's project is committed to representing the issues of nurses on a national level in policy development, improving the status of nurses in the health system. The first step will be assisting APIIB as it builds its management, capacity and governance structure to ensure a strong and viable Association.

Burkina Faso is a landlocked nation in West Africa. Often called Burkina, it is approximately the same size as Colorado, USA, "it is one of the poorest nations in the world with a per capita gross domestic product (GDP) of $1213 USD" (2). Six countries surround Burkina: Togo and Ghana to the south, Cote d'Ivoire to the southwest, Mali to the north, Niger to the east, and Benin to the southeast. It gained independence from France in 1960 and in 1984, its former name, the Republic of Upper Volta, was replaced by Burkina Faso, meaning "the country of honourable people" (3).

The government of Burkina is committed to improving health nationally. Major health issues to contend with include having sufficient numbers of trained health professionals, reducing high numbers of poverty-related disease, such as malnutrition, having access to clean drinking water and dealing with infectious diseases such as cholera, yellow fever and malaria. (4)

In November, two CNA staff members from the department of International Policy and Development will travel to Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, to work with the project team APIIB. The goals of the trip are to train the newly recruited project coordinator, provide project management support in the new association office and accompany members of APIIB to meetings with the Burkina Faso Ministry of Health to discuss the priorities of the Burkina nurses.

Burkina Faso

Fast Facts: Health

* Total population: 14,359,000

* Life expectancy at birth m/f (years): 46/49

* Healthy life expectancy at birth m/f (years, 2003): 35/36

* As of 2002, there were 7,250 nurses and midwives in Burkina Faso, representing 63 per cent of the health workforce

* Maternal mortality rate (per 100 000 live births): 1000

* Under 5 infant mortality rate (per 1000 live births): 192

Figures are for 2006 unless indicated. Source: World Health Statistics 2008, World health Organization

Submitted by Vicki Campbell, Program Manager, CNA

(1) Canadian Nurses Association. (2003). Global health and equity [Position statement]. Ottawa: Author.

(2) United Nations Development Program--Human Development Reports 2007/08: Burkina Faso Fact Sheet, 2005 figure, accessed 1 November 2008 (http://hdrstats. fs_BFA.html) Index

(3) Bureau of Foreign Affairs, Africa (2008), Background Note on Burkina Faso, U.S. Department of State, accessed 1 November 2008. (

(4) IRIN Burkina Faso, Humanitarian Country Profile, accessed 1 November, 2008 ( aspx?CountryCode=BF&RegionCode=WA)
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Author:Campbell, Vicki
Publication:Info Nursing
Article Type:Report
Date:Dec 22, 2008
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