It could have been Accra...

So on another hot, humid and beautifully sunny day the Wessex Ghana Stroke Partnership set out for another hard but inspiring day of work. But this was not Accra or Korle Bu Teaching Hospital this was the Education Centre at Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester!!

After several months of preparation and hard work it was time to hold our first (of many?) sharing and networking event for those working with stroke in low and middle income countries (LMICs).

Just after nine in the morning the planes, trains and automobiles arrived from Sudan, Vietnam, India, Sierra Leone, Ghana and other areas of the world. Well to be honest it was trains, automobiles and bikes from Preston, Sheffield, Manchester, London, Cornwall and other areas of the UK. A group of 30 people with experience of working with stroke patients in LMICs gathered; eager to learn from each others’ experiences.

An informative start to the day. A lecture from Prof Allan Hill and Dr Sara Ashfar Morgan (University of Southampton) who discussed the current epidemiology of stroke in LMICs and how this may develop in the future. They were followed closely by Sarah Belson from the Stroke Association and World Stroke Organization informing us of the importance of stroke survivors’ organisations in delivering long term stroke care in LMICs.

We then heard the history, objectives, achievements and challenges of the attending partnerships:

  • The British Ghana Therapy Partnership
  • The Organized Stroke Care Across Income Levels (OSCAIL) Study
  • King’s Sierra Leone Project
  • Cornwall-Sudan Stroke Partnership
  • NIHR Global Health Research Group on Improving Stroke Care in India – University of Central Lancaster
  • Improving Stroke Care in Vietnam – Royal College of Physicians and North East and Red River Delta Region Health System Support (NORRED)
  • Finally some bunch who call themselves the Wessex Ghana Stroke Partnership!!!

The morning was concluded with an update on the Tropical Health and Educational Trust by Peris Thuo.

Thank you to all our inspiring morning speakers – Peris, Sarah, Allan and Sara.

After a good (and well needed) lunch we turned up the heat (literally!) and were led through a hugely constructive facilitated session by Fleur Kitsell from Health Education England – Wessex. Group discussions were held around the topics of competencies/training, influencing and measuring impact in stroke care in LMICs. The debates were thoughtful and meaningful and left a lot of us with much to think about!! It was wonderful to hear the similarities, differences, positives and negatives that each of the projects has encountered and some mutual learning was definitely undertaken.

Having rounded up the discussion and made some promises to meet again at the UK Stroke Forum in the winter, and in Cornwall next year it was time to say goodbye and ride off into the sunshine!

We hope that some of the discussions will be written up and published in a stroke journal at some point in the future so we can disseminate our learning further!

That leaves me to say a MASSIVE thank you to Julia, Louise and Claire who did most of the organising from the Wessex end and the ever amazing Fleur who appears to be able to facilitate anyone to do anything!!

Here’s to the same amount of sunshine in Truro next year!

- Amelia