Successful collaboration for medical care in Kenya

A delegation from LiU and Region Östergötland recently visited Moi University and the university hospital in Eldoret, Kenya. The collaboration between the two countries has led to improved medical care at the Kenyan hospital.

Vårdpersonal på Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH) i Eldoret, Kenya. Photo credit Anna NilsenThe exchange of knowledge with Kenya has been in place for as long as 30 years, and the visit was timed to celebrate this anniversary. Collaboration between LiU and Moi University has mainly been between the medical faculties, and in 2012 Region Östergötland started its own collaboration with the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital.

Moi universitetssjukhus i Eldoret, Kenya. Photo credit Anna NilsenSince then, medical care teams from Östergötland spend a few weeks every year helping with knowledge transfer on site, and helping to organise medical care. Kenyan medical care teams also visit Linköping University Hospital.

“Most of our work at the Moi Hospital has been within obstetric and neonatal care”, says Dr. Åke Björn, who took the initiative to the International Medical Programme (IMP) at Region Östergötland. He has also been awarded an honorary doctorate by LiU.

Neonatalvård på Moi universitetssjukhus i Eldoret, Kenya. Photo credit Anna NilsenAmong the improvements that the investment into improved medical care for mothers and children at the clinic has led to are reduced mortality among the new-born and better care for premature babies.

Evelyne Mvungu (photo below) is a specialist nurse in obstetric and neonatal care at Moi University Hospital in Kenya, and one of the Kenyan care workers who have visited Sweden. The collaboration has made it possible for her to take further education, and she is now head of the neonatal care unit.

Evelyne Mvungu är specialistsjuksköterska inom neonatalvården på Moi universitetssjukhus i Kenya. Samarbetet med sjukvården i region Östergötland och med LiU har gett henne möjligheter att utveckla sjukvården för mödrarna och barnen på kliniken. Det har bland annat lett till minskad dödlighet och bättre vård för de för tidigt födda barnen. Photo credit Anna Nilsen“Many people here are committed and working passionately to improve medical care for the mothers and children at the clinic”, she says.

The IMP programme has also worked extensively with physiotherapy at the Moi Hospital. Region Östergötland has helped with setting up physiotherapy education at Moi University, and has, among other things, financed the education of several master’s students and Naomi Wanjiru är den första kvinnan i Kenya som doktorerat inom fysioterapi. Hon har varit på LiU flera gånger och har ett samarbete med sjukvården i region Östergötland. Genom samarbetet och hennes doktorsexamen får fysioterapiutbildningen vid Moi University en vetenskaplig förankring som förbättrar kvaliten på utbildningen och utvecklar vården inom fysioterapin i Kenya. Photo credit Anna Nilsentwo doctoral students. Naomi Wanjiru (photo to the right) is one of them. She is the first woman in Kenya to take a doctorate in physiotherapy.

“The collaboration means that our physiotherapy programme now has a more solid scientific foundation. This improves the quality of the education and advances physiotherapy care in Kenya”, says Naomi Wanjiru.

A further area that has been given priority in the collaboration is patient safety, everything from hand hygiene to empowering the personnel to record care-related injuries and incidents, in order in this way to construct a knowledge bank of the risks. The Moi Hospital has become leading in East Africa in patient safety. Six hundred healthcare workers have received training in the subject, and the first patient safety conference in Kenya is planned for 2020.

Dialys på Moi universitetssjukhus i Eldoret, Kenya. Photo credit Anna NilsenThe Swedish medical care teams that travel to Kenya receive, in turn, the opportunity to experience other ways of dealing with problems. They learn to work in situations with severely limited resources, get to manage other types of disease than they see in Sweden, and meet other cultures and their way of seeing things.

LiU students from several programmes, within both medicine and other areas, are also involved in the exchange.

“For example, we have students of cognition science who have worked on degree projects in patient safety, and teamwork in the medical care groups. The next step is to find collaboration partners within research”, says Peter Berggren, acting head of operations at IMP.

Translated by George Farrants

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