In Ghana, like many African countries, there is little or no home support for patients who have had a stroke or similar debilitating illness.
For many patients, this resulted in much longer stays in hospital than they need medical care for. This led to poorer patient outcomes, reduced access and a higher cost of care.
“Northumbria’s knowledge in the field of international development is unsurpassed and we are privileged to be collaborating with some of the best in the business.”
Dr Samuel Kaba Akorlyea, Ministry of Health, Ghana
In 2014, Northumbria visited Ghana to witness the health challenges people faced, and to identify a long term solution to these challenges. Northumbria worked with the University of Ghana to design and implement the first ever Occupational Therapy course in the country.
The course was based on a ‘Train the Trainer’ model which not only educated trainees, but also showed them how to train others. By using this model, Northumbria was able to ensure that training could be cascaded more widely and in a sustainable manner.
Northumbria’s training methods included shadowing and remote or tele-learning, and utilised case studies to demonstrate how lessons learned in the UK could be applied to the very different environment of Ghana.
Students learned how an occupational therapy service could help patients overcome or adapt to an event such as a stroke, and how basic measures such as tailored advice, the provision of specialist equipment and simple adaptations to the home can help patients quickly regain their independence.
In addition to Northumbria’s locally based training, they also established a co-located training and education programme to meet the needs of the Ghanaians. This focussed on both clinical and professional elements, and as part of the support Northumbria provided, helped to set up the new Occupational Therapy service in Ghana.
Northumbria also provided UK clinical placements for students during which they worked alongside experienced Occupational Therapists, gaining valuable skills to apply back home.
- Ghana’s first Occupational Therapists graduated in 2016;
- Joined up care between hospital and community enabling rapid patient discharge following trauma/stroke;
- Hospital length of stay was reduced;
- Lower cost of care;
- Improved outcomes, including:
- Increased mobility;
- Reduced infections;
- Increased patient expectations; and
- Increased professional expectations
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