New Global Grant Improves Obstetric Surgical Safety in Western Kenya

Earlier this week we wrote that Duke University researchers discovered that spinal anesthesia (epidurals) can be given to women during C-sections in low-resource settings in Ghana. Now, there is even more good news regarding women in Africa who are in need of emergency C-sections during high-risk deliveries.

Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC), Kenya’s AIC Kijabe Hospital, a 260-bed complex, composed of a 230-bed main hospital, a 30-bed orthopedic and rehabilitation children’s hospital, and the Kenya-based Center for Public Health and Development recently received a $2.6 million grant from the GE Foundation and the Clinton Global Initiative to improve surgical safety by advancing anesthesia and obstetrics surgery team training and coordination.

The grant will help women who live in remote Western Kenya.

“This new funding will help us continue our push to develop and evaluate solutions that can speed improvement of anesthesiology and surgical safety in underserved regions more generally,” said Mark Newton, M.D., associate clinical professor of Anesthesiology, director of Vanderbilt International Anesthesia and an investigator for Vanderbilt’s part in the grant.

The grant will fund 25 new Kenyan anesthesia providers, development of a mobile patient simulation program for team training in rural hospitals and a focus on obstetrical emergencies.

“The goal isn’t to provide care and then leave — we’re there to train Kenyans,” said another investigator on the grant, Matthew McEvoy, M.D., associate professor of Anesthesiology and vice-chair for Educational Affairs in the department.

“More of our faculty will be able to visit Kenya to provide training, and they’ll return in subsequent years to provide follow-up. And we’ll be hiring as many locals as possible to assist the effort,” McEvoy said.

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