Three midwives have travelled overseas from Ghana to spend time with the trust – as part of an international project dedicated to improving childbirth safety.
Labour ward manager Susana Asamoah and triage midwives Victoria Ahwireng and Cecilia Tetteh from Ridge Regional Hospital in Accra are spending time on the maternity units at The James Cook University Hospital and the Friarage Hospital.
By learning from other areas of practice, they hope to develop innovative ideas to benefit patient care in their own busy regional hospital in Ghana.
The main focus of their visit is observing maternity triage so they can improve their own assessment processes when women first arrive and, in turn, provide appropriate advice and ensure early detection of high risk problems. The team also wanted to learn more about patient flow and how it is achieved.
Their visit is part of a project involving Kybele – a non-profit humanitarian organisation dedicated to improving childbirth safety worldwide through educational partnerships.
Its role is to bring professional medical teams into host countries, to work alongside doctors and nurses in their home hospitals, to improve healthcare standards.
The trust’s clinical director for obstetrics Fiona Bryce, and midwives Kerry Morgan and Liz Floyd, midwife, are all involved in Kybele, working together with Ghana Health Service.
The trio also work alongside the Institute of Health Improvement (IHI) to see what other organisations are doing to improve healthcare around the world and, as part of a developing working partnership to share knowledge, learning and good practice, they regularly visit Ghana in an advisory role, two or three times a year, helping to improve efficiency and healthcare practices and ultimately reduce neonatal and maternal deaths.
In Ghana, maternal mortality is estimated to be around 560 deaths per 100,000 live births with the leading causes being 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 skilled health professional, such as a midwife or physician.
Susana said: “We were very interested to see how things work in the UK and we have learned a lot of lessons which we can take home with us. We were particularly keen to hear from the midwives and staff at the trust and their ideas on good customer care and improving the relationship between patient and midwife so we can get to know our patients better and how they are feeling.
“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.
Fiona Bryce, on behalf of the team, said: “The trust is committed to developing services to improve patient experience and ensure high quality care and 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.
“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. We look forward to continuing this mutually beneficial partnership and support network in the future for the benefit of patients here, and in Ghana.”