Inaugural Universitas 21 Global Learning Partnership initiative in Nepal a success

U21 Health Sciences and University of Kathmandu students

Jessica Lees (centre left) with U21 Health Sciences and University of Kathmandu students at the Kirnetar Health Center, Nepal

Ms Jessica Lees of the Department of Physiotherapy at the Melbourne School of Health Sciences reported on the success of the inaugural Universitas 21 (U21) Health Sciences Global Learning Partnership project at the annual U21 Health Sciences Meeting held at the University of Birmingham, UK this week.

The exciting initiative was piloted in Nepal from 17 April to 14 May this year in partnership with the University of Kathmandu. The partnership focused on addressing the development needs of countries outlined in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and brought together thirteen U21 Health Sciences students representing seven health disciplines from eight U21 member institutions around the globe.

Students at U21 GLP

Students engaging in discussion in Kirnetar during the program

The group was joined by 19 physiotherapy students from the University of Kathmandu collaborating on projects for the duration of the four-week program which included: developing leadership skills in health care, assessing and developing community needs strategies, and connecting with rural clinical outreach centres in Kirnetar, 200 kilometres east of Kathmandu.

The University of Melbourne was represented by public health student Claire Sutterby who made an excellent contribution to the dynamic group.

Saurab Sharma, Kirnetar Community Leader, Jess Lees, and Gillian Webb

Saurab Sharma (far left) a University of Kathmandu academic and physiotherapist; Kirnetar Community Leader (centre left); Ms Jessica Lees (centre right); and Associate Professor Gillian Webb (right) at the Kirnetar Health Center, Nepal

This project was made possible through the dedicated work of Ms Lees, who, first as a Doctor of Physiotherapy student and then as a Project Officer in the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry & Health Sciences, developed the collaborative international global health engagement model with the support of U21 Health Sciences and Department of Physiotherapy colleagues Associate Professors Gillian Webb and Louisa Remedios.

The partnership was a great success with students sharing their unique experiences and collecting a large amount of data as part of the evaluation, which will likely lead to a number of future collaborations and publications.

For the full report or to find out more about the project visit the U21 Health Sciences Global Learning Partnership website or Facebook page.