High ImPACT for safe surgical deliveries in Western Kenya

Tabitha Osuo still remembers the feeling of helplessness as she stood and watched a newborn die and the mother suffer a ruptured uterus, just because an anesthetist was not available.

Today, this young nurse will no longer have to be helpless in such situations. Today, Tabitha has the knowledge and the skill to administer anesthesia. She and 6 other nurses are the first to graduate from the General Electric Foundation sponsored nurse anesthetists training program in Kijabe School of Nursing.

The 18-month long training is part of the Improving Preoperative and Anesthesia Care Training in Africa (ImPACT Africa) program which is a collaboration between Center for Public Health and Development, Kijabe School of Nursing, General Electric Foundation, and Assist International. It was developed to improve safe anesthesia and critical care in Western Kenya. One of the direct causes of maternal mortality in Kenya is limited access to timely and competent critical care.

Tabitha is thankful to the CPHD and GE Foundation’s ImPACT program for sponsoring her for the training.To her, this was a lifetime opportunity especially because of her experience in a maternity ward where many lives were lost due to lack of anesthesia expertise.

She feels that the hospital has enough modern equipment and the staff are always willing to teach and help. Also, the fact that it is a full time course, there is enough time for studying and for practical experience giving the students an edge to grasp all aspects of the training.

The program seeks to strengthen the capacity of health facilities in Western Kenya to provide quality surgical care by enhancing the resources available for anesthesia in terms of human resources and equipment. The establishment of the training program in Western Kenya not only increases the number of nurses trained in anesthesia but also provides increased access to these services. In addition, the students of the program are drawn from rural facilities that greatly require trained anesthetists. The second cohort of 15 nurses under the ImPACT Africa program has started training at Kijabe School of Nursing.

“We look forward to have this program adopted by the Kenya Medical Training College, who will admit their first class this year,” says Dr. Steve Adudans, Executive Director CPHD. “ImPACT Africa program is interesting because it is ensuring safe operative delivery. Looking at the maternal mortality rates of Western Kenya, there is need for safe and competent operative delivery in the region. ImPACT has helped set a standard of anesthetic care in the region and we have developed a capacity that will maintain this standard. CPHD’s commitment to helping achieve Millennium Development Goal four of reducing child mortality has been highly boosted by this program.

IMAGES: Tabitha Osuo (right), one of the 7 nurses to graduate from Kijabe School of Nursing in anesthesia training.