Although we did encounter a few setbacks along the way, most notably difficulty with one aspect of the walkie-talkie installation, we eventually succeeded in installing lighting and electricity in the maternity ward, delivery room and operating theatre. New walkie-talkies are being employed by six emergency obstetric staff members, who have been trained in ways to efficiently communicate emergency messages. The solar powered blood bank is in place and already functioning, and there is a palpable buzz of energy in the hospital following the commissioning of the solar electric installation by the Minister of Health. Nigerian radio and television crews have shown interest in the WE CARE initiative. The blog page has details about the last two days of activity in Kofan Gayan hospital.
I felt my visit would not be complete without discussing quality improvement issues with the doctors and nurses at the hospital. Meetings were scheduled with each of these groups, and one doctor and one nurse were assigned to be champions of the quality improvement initiative. I will be contacting these clinicians on a weekly basis as we try and create sustainable behavior change to accompany the new upgrades in the hospital facility.
My survey of the LED headlamps has been conducted, and my informal assessment of the results suggests that workers are extremely grateful to have the LED technology to assist them in their night duties. Hospital staff have told me that they have less stress, and can provide more timely care now that task lighting is no longer an issue.
I emphasized to the hospital staff that WE CARE has a double meaning. While the letters are an acronym for Women’s Emergency Communication And Reliable Electricity, WE CARE also means that we in America do care about our Nigerian sisters and brothers and wish to offer our support and appreciation for the challenging work that health workers are doing to prevent maternal and child morbidity and mortality.