Photos by Rick Harrison, Ohio State University Communications
By Andrew Shaw
Clinical House Instructor at Wexner Medical Center, Ohio State
Since returning from Ethiopia I am filled with excitement. The people there are incredibly welcoming, warm, and giving. They invited us to see their patients, wards, and hospitals. The doctors there exhibit such passion for medicine, learning, and are always wanting a lecture.
Establishing a long term relationship with the Neurosurgery Department at Black Lion hospital will be mutually beneficial.
Upon our arrival, I believed we would be the teachers, but I often found myself on the learning end. The pathology they see is often advanced and requires much skill to treat.
You might recall the show MacGyver. As Wikipedia says, “Resourceful and possessed of an encyclopedic knowledge of the physical sciences, [MacGyver] solves complex problems with everyday materials he finds at hand, along with his ever-present duct tape and Swiss Army knife.”
Our Ethiopian partners are the “MacGyvers” of medicine doing amazing things with limited resources.
By Bayleyegn Molla, DVM, PhD
College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University
This week, I had a chance to tour the microbiology at the University of Gondar Hospital.
The lab processes hundreds of samples from patients every month. Patient samples are accepted, labeled and sent on to the microbiology lab where they are placed in different agars and broths to check for the growth of bacteria in patient samples.
I was surprised when the staff showed us a large book where the date, source, and patient information are recorded. This can be a time consuming task and makes it difficult to transmit results efficiently to clinicians. Papers can be torn, lost, or burned.
It is a less than ideal system.
When I asked to see the computer, they happily showed us the new electronic system to track individual results including results, name of the organism recovered, and information about antibiotic resistance for each organism. Having this system allows more rapid feedback to clinic staff and can be used to research problems in microbiology.
I was relieved and encouraged that they were using this technology.
This made me reflect on how I still rely on older systems in my old work. They are comfortable for us to use. In order to really harness technology to address important health and food safety problems, I also need to help develop effective technology, trust it to perform, and use it to its maximum.
That is what I learned in the microbiology lab.
By Tim Landers, RN, PhD
Ohio State College of Nursing
“Are you from Ohio? Will you talk to me?”
Nura stopped me in the courtyard of the University of Gondar hospital. She was waving my business card that had been given to her from a School of Nursing instructor who knew that my work centers on infection prevention.
She had just defended her Master’s thesis on hand hygiene at the University of Gondar in which she completed an audit of hand hygiene practices by nurses and other health care workers at a local hospital. When she told me about her project, I was very excited to learn more, so we met the next day to review her findings.
Improving hand hygiene saves lives. Reducing transmission of germs on the hands of health care workers is the most important means of preventing infections. A recent article of mine on patient-centered hand hygiene is here. Another important article on the subject is here.
Effective hand hygiene programs use a multimodal approach, including strong administrative support, education, training, monitoring of hand-washing and feedback. A critical element of hand hygiene programs is providing products and supplies in the health care setting, and I’ve worked on the best approach for years.
But I had forgotten how critical the provision of products is in our hand hygiene efforts. Without a sink, running water, soap, or alcohol-based hand rubs, hand hygiene is simply not possible.
Quite frankly, I had come to take this for granted.
Until I met Nora.
In her study, Ms. Mohammed showed that in more than half of the “hand hygiene opportunities” – times when workers should perform hand hygiene – no soap, running water, or alcohol-based hand-rubs were available at this hospital. As a former nursing matron, or director of nursing, she saw the impact this had on patient outcomes.
By demonstrating the need to improve access, her study provides an important first step in improving hand hygiene practices.
I was really excited to meet someone who shares a passion for infection prevention and hand hygiene. She really is making a difference at her hospital and helping to save lives in Gondar. In the U.S., we call them “heroes!”
Yes, I am from Ohio, and I would love to talk to you!