Distance Education to Prepare Nursing Faculty in Eritrea: Diffusion of an Innovative Model of Midwifery Education


  • Peter Johnson CNM, PhD,

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    • Peter Johnson is a nurse-midwife and currently serves as Director of Global Learning for JHPIEGO, an affiliate of Johns Hopkins University. At the time of this project, he was the Director of the midwifery and Perinatal Women's Health Nursing Programs at Stony Brook University.

  • Ghidey Ghebreyohanes CNM, MS,

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    • Ghidey Ghebreyohanes is a nurse and midwife. She was the Director of the School of Nursing at the University of Asmara as well as a participating student at the time of this project. She earned her MS from the University of Western Colorado University.

  • Vivian Cunningham CNM, PhD,

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    • Vivian Cunningham is a midwife and family nurse practitioner. She has been a faculty member in the school of nursing at Stony Brook University for more than 10 years. Dr Cunningham recently earned her PhD in Rural Nursing from Binghamton University.

  • Deborah Kutenplon CNM, MS,

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    • Deborah Kutenplon has practiced midwifery for ten years and currently works in the HIV and hepatitis program at Greater New Bedford Community Health Center. She recently earned an MS from Stony Brook University.

  • Ora Bouey RN, MS

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    • Ora Bouey is a registered nurse and Associate Dean at the Stony Brook University School of Nursing.

JHPIEGO, 1615 Thames St., Baltimore, MD 21231. E-mail: pjohnson@jhpiego.net


The World Health Organization has identified 56 countries with critical health care provider shortages. This article describes an innovative collaboration between Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY, and the University of Asmara, Eritrea, aimed at increasing the number of qualified nursing faculty in Eritrea. Eritrean graduate nursing students used distance education technologies and in-country clinical support to complete a program of study that prepared them for an advanced practice nursing and faculty role. The 10 students were all highly successful and graduated in 4 semesters. These students and the Stony Brook faculty who supported them from the United States provided feedback and recommendations for future programming. The article provides key recommendations to other universities considering distance education collaboration to help build nursing capacity in developing countries. First, ensure bilateral understanding of the differences between the health care and educational systems in the partner countries. Second, select appropriate educational technology considering both technical and human factors. Third, ensure that students and faculty are sufficiently prepared for success. Fourth, maintain a strong focus on clinical education. Finally, remain flexible through program implementation, working together with students to adjust the program to address local needs and challenges.