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School of Health and Society, Kristianstad University, 2015

Postal address: Sektionen för Hälsa och Samhälle, Högskolan i Kristianstad, SE-291 88 Kristianstad
Visiting address: Elmetorpsvägen 15
Web page: http://hkr.academia.edu/Departments/School_of_Health_and_Society

Contact person: Dr. Kerstin Samarasinghe, University lecturer in Nursing, phone: +46 (0)44 20 40 39. Personal web page.

Research and education connected to South Asia:

The School of Health and Society has a long tradition of students and teachers exchange with Sri Lanka, and has for 8 years – maximum time allowed – had an exchange programme agreement (through the Linnaeus-Palme exchange programme) with the Open University of Sri Lanka in Colombo. Over the years around 15 Srilankan nursing students have got an opportunity to spend time at Kristianstad University, initially for one semester, but in recent years for a period of 3 months. Reciprocally, Swedish students from the Nursing training programme; the Study Programme in Health Promotion and Education; and the Programme for Studies in Social care, have gone to Sri Lanka. The exchange has also included lecturers and staff in both directions.

Kerstin Samarasinghe has been in charge of this work, that has also led to the signing of an extended MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) between Kristianstad University and the Open University of Sri Lanka. The label ”extended” means that exchange activities are open for all departments in the respective universities. The ambition is to keep the collaboration going even though the Linnaeus Palme programme is over.

Since a few years, Kristianstad University has  established cooperation through another Linnaeus Palme exchange programme with Sri Jayawardenepura University in Colombo. (Nursing students from its School of Nursing on the photo above). This project has received continued funding for the period 2015-17 with SEK 565 952. More information about South Asia related Linnaeus Palme programme grants for 2015-16.

While being in Sri Lanka, the Swedish exchange students also spend some time at the National Institute of Health Sciences (NIHS) in Kalutara for practical clinical training.

The collaboration with Sri Lanka got a boost when a high-level delegation from Kristianstad University, led by the Vice Chancellor Lars Carlsson, and Vice Rector Lena Persson, in February 2012 (photo to the right). It was a fruitful visit, resulting in collaboration agreements with both Open University (OUSL) and Sri Jayewardenapura University. The agreements make it possible for two students from each university to come to Kristianstad for the Masters programme in Integrative Health (see below) every year without having to pay the fees that non-European students normally have to pay for studies at Swedish universities since 2011.
The official tour to Sri Lanka also had a specific purpose, namely to ground plans for a new triangular collaborative Masters programme in Geriatric Nursing between Kristianstad University, Open University and Chiang Mai University in Thailand. For this reason, meetings were held on high level with the Ministry of Higher Education, and the University Grants Commission of Sri Lanka. A joint application to launch such a programme has been sent to STINT.
Another purpose with the tour was to support OUSL in its ambitions to launch a Masters programme in Nursing.
Professor Anna-Karin Edberg from the School of Health and Society was also part of the Swedish delegation. She has written a report on the tour. Read her report (as a pdf-file).

Dr. Kerstin Samarasinghe has a strong personal connection to Sri Lanka, and has previously lived there for 13 years with her family, and later (2007-08) she spent a year working at the Apollo Hospital in Colombo.
On 30 March 2007, Kerstin Samarasinghe defended her doctoral dissertation titled ”Facilitating a healthy transition for involuntary migrant families within Primary Health Care” at the Department of Nursing, Lund University. It dealt with refugee families in Sweden, that face a complex transition due to the nature of the migration. This exposes them to vulnerability in cohesion and family function. Primary Health Care Nurses (PHCN) and Interpreters in Primary Health Care (PHC) play a vital role in their promotion of health because migrant health care is mainly carried out within PHC. The overall aim of the thesis was to reach a comprehensive understanding of involuntary migrant family health in order to facilitate a healthy transition for the aforementioned families in Sweden from a systems perspective. These findings are based on interviews representing 16 members from ten families from the Balkans, Kurdistan and Africa, 34 PHCNs and ten Interpreters working within PHC and originating from the same countries as the families. The study was carried out in two municipalities in Sweden. More information, with an abstract.

A 5 credits course on ”Global Health problems” with some focus on South Asia is taught at the department every year. It is a preparatory course for all students planning to go abroad, outside the Nordic countries, for studies or field work.

Since 2007, Kristianstad University also offers a 120 ECTS Masters programme in Integrative Health, primarily run as a part-tim online course. It has been quite attractive for students from Sri Lanka.

SASNET visit

On Monday 23 April 2012, SASNET’s deputy director Lars Eklund visited Kristianstad University in order to meet some of the researchers and staff working on South Asia related collaboration projects. A meeting was kindly organised in the administration building of the university (that actually used to house a military garrison before being turned into an educational institution) by Kerstin Samarasinghe, and Lise-Lotte Nilsson, Director of International Relations, Kristianstad University.

Also present at the meeting were Associate Professor Ann-Sofi Rehnstam Holm, and Associate Professor Torvald Olsson from the School of Education and Environment, both of them strongly involved in India related research.
Read Lars report from the visit to Kristianstad University.