About Us

How It All Began - A Brief History

Friends of African Nursing was started as an organisation by Lesley and Kate, who had family contacts in Africa and due to their professional nursing backgrounds, had taken an interest in the health systems in African countries which they had visited whilst on holiday.

It was apparent to them both separately, that the privilege of the healthcare environment in which they both worked in the UK - which offered continuing education, ready access to journals, speciality (perioperative) education and a professional association (in which they were closely involved, at home) as a ready made network... was indeed a huge privilege which should be shared. So they raised some funds, used whatever contacts they could make, find or encourage and the first course in Uganda became a reality in 2000!

Thanks to all those early supporters, they were on the road to sharing experiences and knowledge with their African Nursing colleagues albeit on a very small scale.

Other Organisations Which FoAN Has Inspired

Cornfields Trust

Cornfields is a small pre-charity organisation, formed to focus on issues associated with children and helping to sustain healthy communities. Cornfields Trust will work in association with ’Friends of African Nursing’ (FoAN) to help address many of the humanitarian issues the team has faced with children, communities and poverty during our years of travel to Africa, Asia and beyond.

Friends of African Nursing (Canada)

FoAN (Canada) is a new, independent Canadian organization that will work alongside its UK counterpart to advance the education and training of perioperative nurses in the developing world with a strong focus on African countries. After several years of planning, a small group has formed FoAN (Canada), and the organization was officially launched during the 2011 ORNAC Conference. FoAN achieved charitable status from the Canadian government in 2012.

Perioperative Nurses organisations which have been encouraged by FoAN have been set up or renewed with assistance from FoAN.

ZOTNIG - Zambia Operating Theatre Nurses Interest Group had a successful conference in 2012 with representatives from all around Zambia.

PONGG - Perioperative Nurses Group of Ghana launched in March 2011 and is adding new members, setting up study sessions locally and thriving.

PONAM- Perioperative Nurses Association of Malawi news from Malawi in 2012 is that the organisation is steadily growing and holding education sessions for it’s members.

Botswana - Botswana Perioperative Association has renewed its’ efforts in 2012 to set up a special interest group under the aegis of the Nurses Association of Botswana.

Tanzania -Tanzania Theatre Nurses Association. It was resolved that the original efforts to set up a group would be renewed, however it is not known if this has actually occurred since FoAN’s last visit in 2009.

Lesotho - Steering Group, with named officers are setting up a perioperative organisation, and we await further news.

Trustees - Board Of Friends Of African Nursing

Kate Woodhead- Independent Healthcare Consultant and Chairman of Trustees. Kate, co-founded FoAN with Lesley Fudge, and enjoys the challenge of helping nurses working in constrained healthcare systems, in Africa. She finds the development of perioperative organisations in Africa and their continued support as they develop, particularly rewarding. Her work as a healthcare consultant fits around her other voluntary work.

Dot Chadwick- Perioperative Educator Dot has worked in the perioperative environment for many years, undertaking clinical, managerial and educational roles.
She is currently working as a Practice Educator at  University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust with the opportunity to maintain personal clinical skills on a regular basis. Dot is an active member of AfPP and a Past Officer of the Association. Dot says, "It is an honour and a privilege to serve as a Trustee of FOAN".

Alison Champken Woods - Alison’s background for the last 11years has focussed around management and managing the business side for all surgical areas within an NHS Trust. Her role is currently Deputy Divisional Manager for Surgery at West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust. Her background is as a Theatre Nurse and Theatre Manager. Alison has lots of other experience in the voluntary sector and she is full of ideas which will be of great value to FoAN.

Lesley Fudge- Independent Consultant and Deputy Chair, Lesley co-founded FoAN with Kate. She is particularly humbled by the ability of nurses in African to care for their patients with so little and learns as much as she teaches, when working with the African nurses.

Diane GilmourDiane has been a perioperative nurse for over 25 years employed within a variety of different roles including - clinical, managerial, education and more recently project management and service improvement. Diane was elected as a Trustee of Association for Perioperative Practice in 2005 and President January 2009-October 2010. She has published and presented on a variety of subjects nationally and internationally.


Linda Wain- Wildlife artist. Linda is an internationally known and talented artist. She has original work in public and private collections throughout the world. Linda is well respected by her peers for her realistic portrayal of all types of wildlife. She brings energy and enthusiasm to support the human element in countries where she has painted, to the ambassadorial role for FoAN.

Sir Stephen Moss- Chairman of Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Stephen was Director of Nursing and then Chief Executive at Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham. He was appointed a Non- Executive Director at Mid Staffordshire in August 2009, and has subsequently become Chairman. He brings extensive clinical and managerial experience and a wealth of contacts to the ambassadorial role for FoAN.

FoAN - Training Nurses Across Africa Since 2001

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