Dr Jay Homme, our keynote speaker at the banquet in November 2014 who has championed the effort to reduce neonatal and pediatric deaths in Africa for many years, has traveled to Ghana twice this year already, with other doctors to help train medical support professionals in this area. His report below gives us some idea of the significant and enduring impact being made.
Summary of Accra Training Trip
This trip we worked on developing a new curriculum geared primarily toward training midwives. Through previous trips to Ghana it has become clear that the mother receives most of the attention and often the caregivers aren’t knowledgeable about what to do if baby is struggling. We’ve addressed this in part in the past through teaching the Helping Babies Breathe curriculum and in some select setting some more traditional NRP training.
Trainers included Amelia Laing (OB/GYN), Malinda Harris (Neonatology), and Jay Homme (Pediatrics).
There were two day long training sessions that combined obstetrical emergencies and care for the baby. This was a combination of both didactic and hand-on training using self-developed mannikins (parts from the HBB NeoNatalie which unfortunately break too easily combined with a more robust BLS infant trainer).
In total we trained 23 individuals over the two days of the combined OB/Neo training sessions, most of whom were midwives. Day two presented some challenges as the power was out so teaching styles were adapted with no lights, no A/C, no overhead projector, etc… Despite those shortcomings I think we’d all agree that this was one of the best training sessions we’ve ever experienced in our travels to Ghana because the midwives that day were fully engaged and the teaching setting was more intimate. They left enthusiastic to take what they’ve learned back to their respective work locations and share it with others.
The third, and final day of training was back to our typical style of ½ day sessions for Basic Life Support and Neonatal Resuscitation. During these sessions formerly trained (Ghanaian) trainers were able to partner with us and receive some feedback on their training methods. This was a gratifying experience for all involved.
We were blessed to be able to bring ~$3500 worth of new training equipment through the generosity of the APM donors. The training center is now fully equipped to run simultaneous Basic Life Support training sessions both on-site in Accra and off-site.
The next-step plans are to further developing course offerings in Basic Life Support (and First Aid) for non-health care workers as well as to obtain the necessary equipment to continue training in management of obstetrical emergencies.
Jason (Jay) Homme, M.D. is Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Program Director of the Pediatric Residency Program at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN