In the summer of 2018, Middlesex lecturer Kelly Ncube spent her vacation teaching Adult and Paediatric Basic Life Support to the Kasoa community at the Abbeam Health Clinic in Ghana. The volunteer project was so well received that staff and student nurses requested that the programme be expanded.
"We’re also deeply aware of how much we can learn from the Kasoa community. We will return to the UK with a more global outlook which will certainly benefit the students we teach and the patients we treat." Kelly Ncube
Fast forward to summer 2019, and Kelly is returning to Ghana joined by a group of Middlesex academics. The team includes: Midwifery Lecturers Maurina Baron and Alvaro Baeza Nunez, who will be facilitating sessions on midwifery emergencies such as preeclampsia, and Sheila Sobrany, an Adult Nursing Lecturer, who will be teaching A&E assessment skills, anatomy and physiology to primary and secondary school children. Kelly will continue to lead on Adult and Paediatric Basic Life Support. A health visitor, Barbara Kombe, from a London NHS Trust will also join the team.
Kelly said: “The continuity of this project is really important and my Middlesex colleagues are passionate about joining me in Ghana to pass on our skills. But we’re also deeply aware of how much we can learn from the Kasoa community. We will return to the UK with a more global outlook which will certainly benefit the students we teach and the patients we treat.
“Last year, basic life support champions were identified during the programme with the support of the staff nurses at the Abbeam Health clinic. One of my proudest moments is when the student nurses with a senior staff nurse facilitated an adult and child choking session to postnatal women at the Clinic.”
Kelly is hoping that in future, students will also join the academic team and volunteer during their summers. She added, “Middlesex University has a diverse group of students in the Adult and Child Nursing, Midwifery and this is represented in the London NHS workforce. I strongly believe lecturers should be given the opportunity to volunteer overseas to understand different cultures, religious views, food and customs. This will be a unique experience for my colleagues. It will be exciting and develop their knowledge and sensitivity of other cultures and create international networks.”
Kelly, who lectures in Mandatory and CPR Skills in the highly respected Middlesex Nursing and Midwifery team, joined the volunteer programme organised by her local church in South East London. She has supported the work of Dr Abbeam Danso and his wife, Evelyn since 2016.
In 2010 Dr Danso and his wife built Abbeam University along with a primary school and a health centre to serve Kasoa's poorer, outlying communities. The couple created a volunteer program to provide real, life-changing experiences for individuals to engage with their communities and be part of educational and health programmes.
Kelly and her colleagues will be participating in health promotion programmes such as around countering high blood pressure and heart attacks, and on post-natal care at the 24 hour Abbeam Health Clinic. Due to the lack of Automated External Defibrillators, her focus was on basic life support which she demonstrated using baby and adult training manikins donated by Middlesex to Abbeam University in 2016. Cardiovascular disease is a growing health problem in Ghana affecting some 20% of people aged between 30 and 70, meaning that the volunteering work undertaken by Kelly has never been more important.
Kelly said: “The volunteering experience is very humbling and has made me appreciate our NHS and the many opportunities related to being a UK lecturer in terms of teaching resources and equipment such as manikins to facilitate Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR).”
Students or staff interested in volunteer work in the Kasoa community, Ghana, can contact Evelyn Danso at firstname.lastname@example.org