The high number of child deaths related to acute neurological conditions (including meningitis) in Blantyre, Malawi, has led to calls for training to improve the standard of care provided in the first 72 hours after a child is admitted to hospital (the ‘acute phase’).
The project aims to address a gap in training of nurses and midwives in Malawi, which does not currently address the neurological nursing care of newborns and children.
- Assess the standard of care provided in Blantyre, Malawi
- Design and deliver training to strengthen the quality of neurological care provided
- Evaluate the effectiveness of the neurological care training
What problem is it solving?
Children are often admitted to Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre, Malawi, with diseases such as meningitis, sepsis and severe malaria. Research has shown that these children present with combinations of fever, seizures (fits), coma, low blood sugar, electrolyte imbalance and increased intracranial pressure (pressure inside the skull). It is crucial that these symptoms are properly managed by health workers, to avoid damage to the children’s nervous systems and to increase patients’ chances of survival.
This project aims to evaluate the current quality of care provided by hospital nurses and midwives to newborns and children with common diseases of the central nervous system and to design and test new training to improve it.
The project is delivered by the Kamuzu College of Nursing (KCN) and funded by The Norwegian Programme for Capacity Development in Higher Education and Research for Development (NORHED). MRF’s International Programmes team is supporting KCN with the design and implementation of the project’s monitoring and evaluation components.
The main intended outcome of the project is to produce a protocol brief for the Malawi Ministry of Health to be used to design future nursing training. Specific objectives are:
- To gain a better understanding of the standard of care provided by nurses and midwives to newborns and children with acute neurological conditions;
- To strengthen the quality of this nursing through training provided by a multidisciplinary team at the Kamuzu College of Nursing.
- To monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the on knowledge, attitudes and practice of health professionals at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital.