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Kenyan team trains in health care simulation at VUMC

Mar. 5, 2015, 8:01 AM

Kenyan health professionals came to Vanderbilt to learn how to train other health care providers in their country through the use of simulation technology. (photo by Joe Howell)

A team of Kenyan medical and technology professionals is spending February and March at Vanderbilt to learn how to train health care providers in their country through the use of simulation technology and to receive guidance on establishing the first medical simulation lab in sub-Saharan Africa.

Faculty members from the Vanderbilt Department of Anesthesiology and the Center for Experiential Learning and Assessment (CELA) are overseeing the team’s training, which includes simulation scenario design, delivery and debriefing, as well as instruction on how to run and maintain a simulation center and equipment in their own country.

The Kenyan team includes Kennedy Odoyo Onyango, M.D., Macktone Okoth, R.N., KRNA, Mary Muringi Mungai, KRNA, Peter Sewe Onyango, RCOA, and Joash Kiptanui.
After the team completes its training at Vanderbilt, the group will return home to establish the Kenya Center for Healthcare Simulation and Patient Safety — Kijabe.

The lab will operate under the guidance of Mark Newton, M.D., and Matthew McEvoy, M.D., both Vanderbilt anesthesiologists and co-principal investigators for the Improving Perioperative and Anesthesia Care Training in Africa (ImPACT Africa) grant awarded to the Department of Anesthesiology in 2013 by the GE Foundation’s Developing Health Globally program. The simulation lab will be at Kijabe Hospital in Kijabe, Kenya, a medical facility where Newton has worked as chief anesthesiologist and a medical educator for nearly 17 years.

The primary goal of the ImPACT Africa grant is to improve access to safe anesthesia care in Kenya and East Africa, which includes not only training nurse anesthetists and anesthesiologists, but also updating instructional approaches to include simulation and team training.

Simulation education is a virtual approach to training physicians and other medical providers in the management of complex clinical cases and challenging situations, especially those that might not be encountered on a regular basis.

CELA and Anesthesiology faculty members are national leaders in providing simulation training in airway management, critical care, perioperative management and transesophageal echocardiogram procedures.

“The peripartum and perioperative mortality rates in Africa are unacceptable in most hospital settings, and this grant will train more providers of safe anesthesia for East Africa,” Newton said.

“Vanderbilt is a leader in improving perioperative care in our own country, and it makes sense to take our knowledge and skills into underserved areas of our world where the Department of Anesthesiology already has a significant training presence in order to improve patient care there as well.”

The Kenya Center for Healthcare Simulation and Patient Safety — Kijabe will initially include two SimMan 3G patient simulator mannequins and two SimBaby mannequins. SimMom and SimMom Baby (neonatal simulator) mannequins will be added later to support team-based training for peripartum emergency management. Once the simulation lab at Kijabe has been operational for six months, a second GE Foundation-funded simulation lab will be established at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital in Kisumu, a referral hospital in Western Kenya.

“Simulation education for medical professionals has taken root in the developed world, but it is sorely needed in other areas, including most of Africa,” said Arna Banerjee, M.D., director of CELA and a Vanderbilt anesthesiologist. “Simulation education, a key curriculum tool for training medical providers, breaks the silos of health care and creates true team collaboration between surgeons, anesthesia providers and nurses in order to provide the best patient care. Training the future leaders of simulation education in Kenya is a wonderful and humbling opportunity.”

The Developing Health Globally program was launched in 2004 by the GE Foundation, the philanthropic organization of GE, to improve access to quality health care by closing critical gaps in developing-world health care facilities. To date, more than $64 million has been invested to support health care initiatives in Africa, and $14 million has been invested by the foundation to support initiatives in Kenya alone.

“As a chairperson in a leading academic medical center, it is very rewarding to see our faculty involved in this work,” said Warren Sandberg, M.D., Ph.D., chair of Anesthesiology.

“We support it wholeheartedly as it expands our capacity building mission, far beyond just our state and the nation, in a truly global manner. I traveled to Kenya last year and I witnessed the needs there firsthand, particularly in obstetric, trauma and pediatric anesthesia. Our faculty members are involved in educational innovation and development for local providers that will soon show demonstrable improvement in patient outcomes.”

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