The inaugural LPIP teaching trip to Kambia took place in July 2013. Five volunteers from Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust spent 8 days in Sierra Leone delivering 5 days of training to Maternal and Child Health Aides (MCHAs). The teaching faculty from the UK comprised two Registered Midwives, two Registered Nurses and one Registered Paediatric Nurse. The aim of these visits is to provide intensive, high quality teaching to small groups of Kambia staff.
20 qualified MCHAs received training in:
60 trainee MCHAs at the Kambia MCHA Training College also received training in basic maternal and child health skills during a one-day workshop led by GHNHSFT volunteers and 20 qualified MCHAs. During this session, the teaching skills of the qualified MCHAs were assessed in order to identify candidates to become long-term senior MCHA trainers and assessors to ensure that the benefits of the LPIP training last beyond the project.
The format of this visit will now be repeated for 6 further training visits scheduled between November 2013 and November 2015.
Hawa Kallon, Senior District Health Sister, said of the visit:
"It was so good to see more visitors from Gloucestershire in Kambia to help our MCHAs. This LPIP project is designed to support our MCHAs who work out in the district at the health centres; they are not here at the hospital. They do a very important job in serving the communities; delivering maternal and child health services in often very remote places. They need to be skilled to do their work effectively; and these intensive training weeks provide them with a very good learning experience. I am convinced that they will learn and work hard with their new skills. I thank the trainers from the UK for coming to Kambia as our partners in this project."
Photos from the July teaching trip:
November 2013 saw the second group of GHNHSFT volunteers deliver the LPIP training programme which has been designed to improve maternal and child health outcomes for the women and children in the Kambia District of Sierra Leone. The programme is a vehicle through which the Kambia Appeal in association with the Kambia District Health Management Team is making a contribution towards addressing the UN Millennium Development goals of reducing child mortality and improving maternal health.
Trained MCHAs were the recipients of the programme, the contents of which were previously detailed by the July group. In addition, training in obstetric and neonatal emergencies and the identification of the sick patient, sepsis and shock were included. Delivery was a mixture of lectures, workshops and skills drills, the latter of which was enthusiastically received and appeared to cement learning, as lesson learnt were readily imparted by the MCHAs to their student MCHA colleagues on the Friday.
The MCHAs delivery of an obstetric and neonatal emergency was utilised as a form of assessment and a means by which potential trainers could be identified. The identification of future trainers and assessors is one of the key founding tenets for the award of the grant to the Kambia Appeal and is a valuable means through which improvements in delivering safe and effective care is disseminated long after the volunteers have left.
The visiting Gloucestershire team also had responsibility for facilitating learning of the 60 or so trainee MCHAs who study at a dedicated MCHA training college in Kambia for one day only. In this we were enthusiastically and amiably supported by the four Kambia Appeal Long Term Volunteers Hannah, Martin, Sam and Becky who ran an interactive session on the theory and practice of taking vital signs, an essential basic nursing skill which was advanced and advocated by Sister Hawa, the District Sister in charge of Kambia’s MCHAs.
The course programme began and ended with an assessment for the 27 MCHAs as a means to test their learning. Overall there was an 8% difference between the pre and post-test scores with one MCHA returning a 24% increase in her scores. A little celebration ceremony ended the week with the awarding of prizes, gifts and certificates for everyone. The teaching group and MCHAs went their separate ways with a final rendition of, “We’ll be singing songs in Kambia when we come”, from the tone deaf lecturers and the harmonious students.
In spite of the separation good memories will live long in our hearts and minds and hopefully as suggested by Sonia Maisey (Critical Care Sister), “a relatively small contribution from ourselves, hopefully will help to make a big difference to the abilities of the MCHAs to help save lives of women and babies”. However as one veteran volunteer, David Holmes, suggested on departure, we are likely to get so much from the experience of volunteering, perhaps more than we can ever hope to give. Such wise words resonate now as we reflect on our teaching trip and are adeptly qualified by Pat Fogarty (Midwifery Sister) when she says that, “the people of Kambia District do very well with very little, which makes me appreciate what we have here in Britain. It was a very humbling experience indeed”
There are four more maternal and child health teaching trips planned as part of the LPIP project up until February 2015. Each visit will provide training to a small group of 15-20 MCHAs delivered by 5 GHNHSFT staff and a day-long workshop will be run for 60 trainee MCHAs.
The visits are scheduled for:
Places on these visits have now been filled.
If you would like more information or to register your interest in being involved in this programme (to be put on our reserve list of volunteers), please contact David Holmes, Link Coordinator at GHNHSFT on 08454 222337