Returning from Uganda

Our behaviour change consultants Amy and Nisha have now returned home from their work in Uganda:
Over the past few weeks we have been incredibly busy learning about how the RCOG obstetric skills course in Uganda works. We have: observed two skills courses and two train the trainer courses; collected pre and post course data assessing knowledge and action planning; conducted four focus groups with Ugandan doctors and midwives and a photo-elicitation focus group with RCOG faculty; and visited a number of course graduates across the Masaka region to explore how they are getting on with applying their skills in practice. We are currently in the process of producing an interim report for the RCOG detailing the evidence of the behavioural science techniques we observed and our recommendations for embedding more behavioural science within the course. Nisha is looking forward to returning to Kitovu in June to collect more data and potentially put some of our recommendations into practice.

A visit to Ipswich

Our volunteer, Eleanor Bull, returned from a trip to Ipswich to meet people from both sides of the Ipswich-Beira Health Partnership.  Eleanor and our other volunteer, Diane Dixon, had created some great information to explain behaviour change and behavioural science to the Health Partnership leads and others.  We had some great and valuable input from Portuguese speaking Health Psychologists, Vera Araujo-Soares and Angela Rodrigues, who did some ‘armchair volunteering’ and (at very short notice) translated the material prepared by Eleanor and Diane into Portuguese for the Beira team.

Eleanor reported that the trip was a great success in terms of planning how behavioural science can really add value to the work of the Ipswich-Beira Health Partnership work around medicines safety.  Sarah Cavanagh, Project lead for Ipswich said “Eleanor has been absolutely brilliant and has added much already to our Partnership”.
Eleanor and a new volunteer, Corina Mason, will be travelling to Mozambique with the Ipswich team in June.

An update from Nisha & Amy…

An update from Nisha & Amy

April update

Our first volunteers will go to Uganda in a little over a week.  Nisha Sharma and Amy Burton will be behaviour change consultants to the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology’s partnership with Kitovu Health District.  RCOG run training and train the trainer courses to improve obstetric care and, ultimately, reduce the number of fistulas.
Regretfully, our trip to Ethiopia has had to be postponed after the Foreign Office issued an amber warning for certain parts of Ethiopia.  Although the area of the project itself was not in the amber warning, travel was through the area and our insurers decided that they would not cover our volunteers in those circumstances.  We are still working with University of Exeter in their partnership with Wollega Medical School but our volunteers will have to wait until October / November to visit Ethiopia.

We have developed a core monitoring and evaluation package so that we can collect and pool qualitative and quantitative data from each of the projects about behaviour, behavioural expectations and behavioural determinants.  Our volunteers will be taking a bottom up approach to thinking about what is driving practice and how education and training can lead to practice change.

The Change Exchange Volunteer Day

It is fitting that our first volunteer meeting fell on International Women’s Day because, by chance, our whole team are women. This first meeting was for the volunteers to meet each other and begin to get excited about their volunteering projects. We talked through the history and aims of The Change Exchange project. We discussed theories and methods of health psychology. We talked about data collection and gave out iPads and business cards for communication and data collection.

The volunteers are such an impressive bunch! We have professors, learning and development professionals, experts in qualitative and quantitative research, motivational interviewing etc etc. It was easy to see today that they will form a cohesive group. The future is bright!

The Change Exchange: Update Jan 2016

The Change Exchange project officially began on 4th January 2016.  The weeks since have seen a flurry of activity including appointment of our project manager.  We had expressions of interest from 31 UK based psychologists wishing to volunteer with us.  Some would have made great volunteers but didn’t have the necessary experience of behaviour change and so were  not a good fit for our project.  After some interviews in person and by Skype, we appointed nine volunteers to work with our five Health Partnership partners.  We have started discussions with all Health Partnership partners about how our volunteers can assist them in delivering their project goals and develop their monitoring and evaluation plans to include behavioural determinants.  We visited Kampala, Uganda, for three days to meet with the Royal College of Midwives and the Ugandan Private Midwives Association to discuss their exciting new midwifery mentorship project : MOMENTUM.  The UK and Ugandan partners had lots of questions about the role of behavioural science in achieving their goals and we came away with a much clearer set of ideas of how our volunteers can add value.

Our volunteers will be getting together on 8th March to discuss project plans, project goals and some logistics.  Our first volunteers are visiting Ethiopia in early April so have begun trips to travel clinics for vaccinations.

A large part of The Change Exchange project is to generate interest amongst health psychologists about the role that we can play in understanding and driving improvement in healthcare practice.  We are beginning to see a community develop and the prospect of playing a small part in health systems strengthening in low and middle income countries is certainly inspiring.

We could tell you but then we’d have to kill you….

In February, Jo and Lucie visited Porton Down in Wiltshire to speak to Public Health England about their infection prevention and control project with partners in Chennai, India. We met Prof Silman and Dr Vassan when we were asked by The Tropical Health and Education Trust to run a workshop on behaviour for their Infection prevention and control grant holders. Nigel asked if we would consider coming to see them when their Indian partners were visiting and we ended up giving an open seminar to PHE staff, discussing the IPC project and meeting their very inspirational behavioural
unit. PHE and their partners are training staff in India in responding to travellers who are suspected to have serious infectious diseases: ambulance drivers, nurses and doctors. It is a really exciting project and we are hoping to find a way to work with them. Jo saw the business end of infection prevention and control measures when, returning from Saudi Arabia, she was isolated with suspected MERS. A little bit of unexpected ethnography!

Health Psychology is alive and kicking in Scotland

Jo and Lucie were delighted to be invited to run a workshop for Division of Health Psychology Scotland postgraduates in Glasgow last week.  After a rather bumpy plane ride from Manchester, we ran a morning workshop on global health psychology, including some of the benefits and challenges to working internationally in low resource settings.  Attended by around 25 postgrads, the workshop discussed the difficulties with healthcare workforce shortage and how understanding the impact of training on practice was crucial to make training more effective and efficient.  The participants joined in enthusiastically, planning studies and consultancy activities that might help Health Partnerships change health worker practice using training.

Following the workshop, we attended the DHP Scotland meeting in the afternoon.  The projects presented were impressive and thorough and the reception they received from the assembled great and good of health psychology in Scotland was warm and challenging.  Health Psychology is certainly thriving north of the border!

Staffordshire health psych trainees

This week, Jo visited Prof Karen Rodham’s group at the University of Staffordshire to advertise The Change Exchange. I talked to stage 2 health psychology trainees as part of an action learning session – we talked through the challenges of carrying out research in different cultures and the huge potential for benefit to us all.  I then had a brief opportunity to talk to the MSc Health psychology students at the end of their journal club (it sounded like the paper they had read was very ‘interesting’!). It was great to meet everyone and there was a lot of interest in our work– I think we might have a couple of people interested.