Home > Countries > Ethiopia > Reducing Overcrowding on Maternity Wards in Low- and Middle-income Countries Using a Photo-Action Tool (PAT): A Pilot Study


Hi, I am Victoria and I am in my 5th year of medicine at the University of Aberdeen. As part of our medical course, we are required to carry out a medical elective, which you can do anywhere in the world, on any topic relating to medicine for a period of 2 months. The only requirement is that you have to conduct a piece of research and to produce a report. I conducted my medical elective at Felege-Hiwot Comprehensive Specialized  Hospital (FHCSH) in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia, in partnership with the Soapbox Collaborative. This work was a continuation of work I had previously conducted last year in Ethiopia with Soapbox, as part of my master’s degree.

The aims of this elective was to carry out pilot testing on a Photo Action Tool (PAT) which I had previously developed in my master’s work, and then get feedback on it from key stakeholders in the hospital. The aim of the PAT is to define and manage overcrowding on maternity wards in low- to middle-income countries, by helping to pin-point urgent improvements in the care environment in an attempt to reduce maternal and childhood mortality and morbidity.

Returning to FHRH was exciting! The hospital itself had undergone much change since I was last there, along with the maternity unit.

It was also really good to see colleagues that I had met last time, and meet them again now, as doctors on the ward.

Being in Ethiopia for longer this time, was a great opportunity to settle into the culture and get the chance to explore the area more. Myself and Joe, a fellow medical student also on his elective at FHCSH, spent a week travelling around Ethiopia, immersing ourselves in the diverse culture that Ethiopia had to offer. This ranged from climbing the second highest mountain in Ethiopia, to visiting the hottest place in the world!

Overall it was a great trip, and a wonderful opportunity to experience healthcare in a different location!

Image above – UoA medical students Victoria Kinkaid & Joe Burgess during their recent medical elective projects at FHCSH. Image © Victoria Kinkaid 2019.