Lydia Andrews Starts Nursing School in Ghana
Photographer: Eric Schultz, Huntsville TimesLydia Andrews is member of the Oakwood University Church family, Huntsville, Alabama. Her calling has helped relieve some suffering in Ghana; With God's help, she has accomplished something marvelous for humanity.
Photographer: Eric Schultz, Huntsville TimesLydia Andrews, of Huntsville, just graduated her first class of nursing students in Ghana and talks about her experience in her home Friday, Jan. 27, 2012 in Huntsville, Ala. (The Huntsville Times/Eric Schultz).
The following article is an example of our members in action outside of their normal church responsibilities. Lydia Andrews, Ph.D., was featured in the Huntsville Times, January 30, 2012, for her work in Ghana. She is a member of Oakwood University Church, Huntsville, Alabama. The article following (reprinted with permission) is entitled, "Calling' Leads Women to Start Nursing School" by Mike Marshall:
HUNTSVILLE, Alabama -- There were challenges. Oh, there were challenges. There were, for starters, the almost-unthinkable challenges that come with being a nurse in Ghana.
There's malaria, perhaps the biggest challenge, and the childhood diseases. There are so many childhood diseases, in fact, that many children don't make it to their fifth birthday.
There is also typhoid because of poor water quality in rural areas, and there is dehydration, diarrhea and worm infestation.
"A lot of education is necessary when the students go out to the communities," Dr. Lydia Andrews said. "They do health talks with mothers. The parents don't see the need for taking care of the children - for sanitary conditions. They are so busy with everyday kinds of things to survive."
The health talks came in the community health nursing courses, part of the curriculum designed by Andrews when she started the nursing department at Valley View University, a Seventh-day Adventist-affiliated school in Ghana.
Andrews, a resident of Darlene Circle in northwest Huntsville, received the offer to start the nursing program at Valley View in 2005.
In November 2006, she moved to Ghana.
"We had to start the buildings from the ground up," she said. "Everything was (from) scratch."
She stayed at Valley View for about three years, overseeing the construction of new buildings, the new curriculum and new students.
Recently, Andrews returned to Ghana for the graduation of the first nursing class at Valley View University.
There were 15 graduates - 11 women and four men.
"I feel very accomplished," she said. "I feel I have accomplished a great deal to relieve suffering (in) humanity."
And with her students now in the field, helping to address health challenges in Ghana and elsewhere, her sense of accomplishment will endure.
"My dream will continue to be realized," Andrews said.
She saw the need
There were also challenges that came with being a woman in her 60s and starting a new nursing school in a country that was unfamiliar to her.
She had been to Kenya in the late 1990s to teach midwifery at the University of Eastern Africa. Starting a new nursing school in Ghana, though, was something altogether different.
"We were just getting settled here (after Kenya)," she said. "We were doing things on the house, just catching up."
In February 2006, Andrews went to Ghana to meet with the board of nursing at Valley View and to check out the surroundings, trying to decide if she should become the head of the nursing school.
"It has to do with what goes along with the calling," she said. "How will it affect your family, your way of life?"
Andrews saw her new house in Ghana, saw that it was comfortable, saw that it had all of the necessary accommodations - a refrigerator, a microwave, hot and cold water, among them.
No hardships, in other words.
"I saw the need," Andrews said. "And when I saw I was available, I said, 'Why not?' "
She was, in fact, starting the school from its foundations. When she arrived for good in 2006, she saw only the foundation of the new nursing school.
There were labs to be built and a new library. Johnson & Johnson, legendary maker of health-care products, chipped in with a $50,000 donation for a lab for nurses to practice, Andrews said.
Other funding, she said, came from the Columbia Union Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
"It was challenging because it's so different from what we're doing here, as far as what's required," Andrews said. "At Valley View, there was no science department. It was tough because we had to design their own chemistry and microbiology courses, and anatomy and physiology courses - and to find people to teach them."
The first classes began in August 2007. Thirty-five students comprised the initial wave of Valley View nursing students.
Fifteen remained when the first graduates received their diplomas in November.
Today, Andrews said, nursing-school enrollment has grown to almost 150.
"I feel I accomplished something in my lifetime," she said. "I feel God was leading me in the right direction when he called me to midwifery. That opened the door to my accomplishments."
-Mike Marshall, The Huntsville Times
© 2012 the Huntsville Times. All rights reserved.
Used with permission of the Huntsville Times.
--Elder Michael A. HarpeDirector of CommunicationSouth Central Conference of Seventh-day Adventistswww.scc-adventist.org firstname.lastname@example.org 615-226-6500, Ext. 128 Office"Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him [be] glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen." (Ephesians 3:20-21).
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