Here first-hand accounts of how training from UK volunteers has had a positive impact on health worker practice in Ghana.
“How the UK trainers have changed my practice – how can these changes be sustained?”
The G.A.S. partnership was established in 2010 when the Trust Board of University Hospital Southampton recognised the value to stakeholders in formulating a programme of learning and development between Southampton, Ghana Health Services (Upper East Region) and Afrikids, an NGO Charity which holds the wellbeing of the child in their core philosophy.
As the UK lead for the Anaesthetic and Theatres work stream in this partnership I have been privileged to deliver intensive hands-on training courses in this area – this was financially supported with the grant issued through THET. There were two particular challenges to this type of training. Firstly the intensive, hands-on nature of the course was alien to the candidates, whose concept of learning is sitting in a large lecture theatre amongst 400 delegates, absorbing information from a lecture format over 3 days. This course was intensive, comprising a minimal number of plenary sessions and principally based on group work with practical exercises, scenario-based learning and discourse amongst candidates. In addition selected candidates were invited to attend a fourth day to acquire fundamental skills on training so that they may contribute to sustainable learning programmes – the ultimate aim of G.A.S. is to support this area of Ghana to develop their own training and to disseminate this to other areas of Ghana. An essay competition was run based on the title of this case study. We were able to award 3 prizes. I include here quotes from each.
Mohammed Amin Imoro, Theatre Nurse at Tamale Teaching Hospital, Northern Region
“Training of this nature is essential for health care teams all over. Though limited in time, it has been a source of immense skill acquisition for me.
It has provided a way for me to create and incorporate in me intensive good practice and also it introduced a spurring concept in me to explore further in my area of practice. The existing knowledge and skills in my have improved significantly. This has been possible from the experience shared between the trainers, facilitators and my colleague participants.
Sustaining changes will be to the benefit of healthcare personnel especially those with deprived facilities or hospitals. One significant way to me that can help sustain this is the gradual increase in number of participants to cover those districts that were not able to join me in this training course.
Training more teachers of training from different hospital to provide this training to those areas unable to send trainees today. This should include surgeons, anaesthetists and nurses as we had in this course.“
Atiah Manasseh, Nurse Anaesthetist, Zebilla hospital, Upper East Region
“The UK trainers have helped improve our relationship with the surgeons and theatre nurses. This helps create a conducive environment for work in the theatre. To sum this training up – education is the key to success – this will help render quality health care to our patients.”
Surgeon, Gushegu hospital, Northern Region
“In the developed world so much effort has been put into medical training. Unfortunately this has not been the case in Ghana where ideas are perfectly laid down in a book but implementation is close to zero. For example there is always one dominant role where decisions in an operating theatre are dictated down to other team members who sometimes make little or no sense of these decisions but still have to go by them anyway. For this reason the concept of team working will make invaluable contributions to efforts at team building and teamwork in Ghana which will go a long way to improve healthcare in my facility in Ghana.”