WGSP was founded by Dr Claire Spice (Portsmouth Hospital NHS Trust) and Dr Hetty Asare (Ridge Hospital, Accra). Having worked together in Ghana and experienced at first hand the problems caused by stroke disease, Claire and Hetty worked to establish a developmental initiative between Ghanaian and UK health services. With support from NHS Education South Central (now Health Education England: Wessex), the Royal College of Nursing and the British Medical Association Humanitarian Fund, a multidisciplinary team of stroke specialist healthcare professionals first visited Ghana in March 2009. This team collaborated with colleagues in Ghana to gain insight into local services, and to explore future joint working opportunities.
Since that initial visit, the UK and Ghanaian teams have worked closely together to build capacity within the stroke service at KBTH. The focus has largely been on developing the knowledge and skills required to deliver fundamental stroke care, using a 'train the trainer' approach. Further grants have been awarded, primarily through the Tropical Health Education Trust (Health Partnership Scheme).
There is now an identified local team based within KBTH consisting of Stroke Care Lead clinicians from medicine, nursing and physiotherapy, who are working with their colleagues to develop practice and disseminate knowledge. There are identified link clinicians for pharmacy, dietetics, occupational therapy, psychology and speech and language therapy.
Through the support, advocacy and mentorship provided by the partnership, the KBTH stroke team, led by Dr Albert Akpalu, were able to successfully open a dedicated stroke unit within the hospital in January 2014 - the first such unit in West Africa.
The WGSP continues to support the development of the stroke service in line with the Ghanaian vision, and by developing local solutions to local problems.