Health Africa Network celebrated 25 years of cooperation

Kuva seminaariin osallistuneista.

The representatives from Clarke International University from Uganda, Maseno University from Kenya and eight Finnish Universities of Applied Sciences attended the Health Africa Network’s 25th anniversary seminar on October 2nd—3rd in Centria UAS’ Talonpojankatu Campus in Kokkola.

The Health Africa Network has carried out about a thousand nursing, public health nursing, biomedical, social work, physiotherapist, performing arts and music, construction engineering and nutrition student exchanges and 200 teacher and staff exchanges between the Universities of Finland, Uganda and Kenya. Since 2017 The Health Africa Network has been part of the Erasmus+ Global Programme that concentrates in financing the exchange students and teachers who come to Finland.

All of the network universities had representatives at the 25th anniversary seminar. The seminar programme focused on the previous 25 years and how the actions and experiences had affected and developed the network and how the health and welfare have been enhanced both locally and globally. The keynote speaker of the seminar, Mrs. Kaija Pajala from International Higher Education Cooperation Finnish National Agency for Education emphasized the significance of the educational cooperation and the pathbreaking role of the Health Africa Network in the educational cooperation in her speech.

Mrs. Merja Seppälä, lecturer from Centria UAS, has been the Chairperson of Health Africa Development Co-operation Organization (HADCO) since the year 2004. “The seminar was warm, versatile, discussing and full of distribution of information and experiences. It was heart-warming to meet Mrs. Riitta Kujala, a doctor and a real pioneer of Finland-Uganda cooperation from whom we got irreplaceable expert help when we were in Uganda for the first time with Ilmo Anttila and students in 1997. Mrs. Leila Latvasalo had coached us the previous four weeks and Riitta and Mrs. Catharine Othienon continued the coaching in Kampala”, tells Merja Seppälä.

One of the first exchange students was Tuula Mäntylä who shared her exchange experiences from Uganda in 1996. More recent experiences were told by two students of social sciences Ada Skytte and Sarita Tiala that got to spend three months in Kenya in spring 2019. “Part of our hearts and ourselves will always be in Africa”, they told.

The Health Africa Network cooperation is all about learning new skills but also learning how to be good at heart. All the participants wish the cooperation continues. The chairman of the seminar, Mr Ilmo Anttila closed the seminar that describes well the spirit of the network: “Thank you for your support, caring and for educating also our students’ hearts!”.

Further information:

Lecturer Merja Seppälä, merja.seppala@centria.fi, p. +358 44 725 0562

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