The Nursing program of the Adventist University of Central Africa was approved by the Higher Education Council [HEC] of the Ministry of Education of the Government of Rwanda, and on Friday, March 20, 2015, by the Ministers’ Cabinet meeting, approving the Nursing program of Ngoma campus. Nursing Program at AUCA is a result of discussions between AUCA, Rwanda Union Mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and East-Central Africa Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church to resume the nursing education program.
The nursing school was established in Ngoma in the current Western Province of Rwanda in the 1930s. The history of the nursing school and the history of Ngoma Hospital are intrinsically linked. In 1939, the missionaries built one room in the hospital to care for sick people. It was not late that the room became too small and that made it difficult for the missionaries to care for the sick alone. Thus, they decided to establish a Nursing school in order for them to have nurses who would help them care for the sick. The school then started on March 1, 1939 with 26 students. After two years the first batch of students were awarded certificates.
After this first student cohort, the nursing programme was stopped due to the lack of teachers and financial resources. In 1953, the nursing school was reopened. At this time, students were studying for one year and they could graduate after writing the Government’s national exam. This continued until 1960. In 1961 the school modified the curriculum. Rather than teaching to produce nurses, the curriculum was changed to train the students in Midwifery (aides accoucheuses or sage femmes).
In 1968, the then Director of Ngoma Hospital, started the training of medical assistants for young people having completed three years of secondary education. These young people were studying a curriculum of four years. The purpose of this training was to train enough medical assistants who could lead different clinics that were under Ngoma’s main Hospital.
In 1972, only eleven (11) students graduated from the medical assistants training curriculum. As with the nursing training program before it, the program was stopped because of the lack of financial resources and qualified workers. Yet, in 1973 another program was started to train nurses (auxilliaires). The curriculum was for two years. Miss Billard was the Director of this program up to 1983. From this time the school of nursing started registering students from primary school (8th year), to study nursing for six (6) years. The exit award was A2 (Advanced General Certificate of Secondary Education).
In 1984, Rwanda Union Mission of the Seventh-day Adventist church separated the leadership of the nursing school from that of Ngoma Hospital. The nursing school took the name “Ecole des Sciences Infirmière [ESI]”. The ESI continued up to the time of Genocide in 1994.
In 2015 the school welcomed the first cohort of 71 students as undergraduate training in nursing was introduced. The nursing school is now called Ngoma Adventist College of health Sciences. To date, the first two batch have graduated with a Bachelor of Sciences in Nursing.