Home > Countries > Ethiopia > The Aberdeen-Bahir Dar Knowledge Exchange Partnership

In 2014, together with researchers and healthcare professionals from NHS Grampian (NHSG) and the University of Aberdeen (UoA), Soapbox created a partnership with Felege Hiwot Comprehensive Specialized Hospital (FHCSH) and Bahir Dar University (BDU) to strengthen infection prevention and control and support quality of care in Bahir Dar, with a particular focus on maternal and newborn health.  This has been an extremely successful partnership which is now celebrated in a special report.

The aims of the partnership were built around capacity strengthening, with four main agendas to improve quality of care:

  • Supporting the training of workers in healthcare environments

Aberdeen partners have volunteered their time to travel to Bahir Dar to deliver training with their counterparts to support the expansion of services, and quality of care improvements. Examples of training include high-risk obstetric care, post-operative recovery care, maternal sepsis management, infection prevention and control (IPC), anaesthesia curriculum development and training, pain assessment and management, and Intensive Care Unit care.

  • Developing processes and protocols to support quality research and improvements

In 2015, FHCSH established a Quality Assurance, Audit and Research Department to gather and analyse data from across the hospital. Soapbox provided financial support to recruit key staff to assist in the creation and development of quality improvement protocols, processes and cycles. The Partnership also supported the establishment of an audit process, forms and a database and the creation of an Audit Committee to assist in project identification, promotion and development to help drive hospital wide, multi-disciplinary improvement of care.

  • Strengthening the infrastructure of healthcare facilities

Following water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and IPC needs assessments carried out in 2014 and 2015, the Partnership quickly prioritised improvements to hospital infrastructure to support IPC practices. In 2015, NHSG’s Director of Acute Services, Gary Mortimer, and hospital engineers Graham Davidson and Malcom Ewen, travelled to Bahir Dar to assist hospital maintenance staff. During their visit, the NHSG team carried out repairs, provided training and drafted maintenance policies and procedures for the Felege Hiwot team to implement going forward. In subsequent visits, partners have been delighted to see that the maintenance team have continued to implement and indeed develop policies to improve infrastructure. However challenges remain given the growing case-load of patients and difficulties of sustaining change and coping with breakdowns, for example the availability of water on the wards. 

  • Bilateral sharing of skills to encourage professional development, leadership and quality improvement.

In 2015, FHCSH’s Chief Executive Officer and Medical Director paid a 7-day visit to Aberdeen to meet with partners, senior NHSG staff and teams including the Quality Improvement (QI) and Health Intelligence & Research teams. Practicing clinicians from Bahir Dar have also had the opportunity to come to Aberdeen to support professional development.

Read more about this partnership in our special report available here.

The aims of the Partnership were built around capacity strengthening, with four main agendas to improve quality of care.