A group of midwives from West Africa has visited a trust in the north east as part of a global initiative to improve patient safety.
South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust welcomed three midwives from Ghana as part of a project involving Kybele – a not-for-profit organisation trying to improve childbirth safety worldwide through educational partnerships.
Trust clinical director for obstetrics Fiona Bryce, risk midwife Kerry Morgan and midwife Liz Floyd are all involved with the project, together with the Ghana Health Service.
The team visit Ghana in an advisory role two or three times a year to help improve efficiency and healthcare practices and, ultimately, to help reduce neonatal and maternal mortality.
Maternal mortality in Ghana is estimated to be around 560 deaths per 100,000 live births. The leading causes of maternal death are pre-eclampsia, acute haemorrhage, sepsis, obstructed labour, non-hemorrhagic anemia and unsafe abortion.
Overall, 92% of women attend at least one antenatal clinic, but only half of all deliveries are attended by a midwife or physician.
Labour ward manager Susana Asamoah and triage midwives Victoria Ahwireng and Cecilia Tetteh work at the Ridge Regional Hospital in Accra, Ghana.
The main focus of their visit was to observe maternity triage to improve the assessment process when women first arrive, give them appropriate advice and ensure early detection of high risk problems. They also wanted to learn more about patient flow and how it is achieved.
Ms Asamoah said: “We were particularly keen to hear from the midwives and staff at the trust their ideas on good customer care and improving the relationship between patient and midwife.
“We want to develop and improve confidence in our service so we can provide the best possible treatment and keep improving services to enhance their quality of life.”
An example of transferrable practice that could benefit patients back in Ghana is sterile water injection – a simple pain measure – and also how the partogram assessment tool for labour can be used to the best advantage.
Ms Bryce said: “We were delighted to welcome the midwives and to show them our services and share our specialist skills and we have all gained a lot from the visit.
“It is a great privilege to be able to share professional roles and practice and to understand the reality of working in a hospital in Ghana, and for them to understand what life is like working at our hospitals.”
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