Medication Safety in Mozambique

The Change Exchange consultants, Eleanor Bull & Corina Mason, with Ipswich Hospital, UK & Beira Hospital, Mozambique

The challenge

The partnership between Ipswich Hospital Trust and Beira Central Hospital has existed for many years in various forms, most recently funded through the Tropical Health Education Trust. Since 2011, teams of health professionals in the two hospitals have worked on innovative projects to improve medication safety and equipment maintenance within Beira, including during partnership visits like this one.  The programme lead, pharmacist Sarah Cavanagh, recognised that the medication safety strand in particular relied on very complex changes in health professional practice. Being the most energetic and welcoming person we know, Sarah embraced The Change Exchange’s offer to attach two health psychologists to the partnership during 2016.   Our role was to strengthen the partnership’s existing work and implementation in practice through applying insights from behavioural science.

Our work

We delivered training on behaviour change to UK and Mozambique healthcare professionals.  We observed training and coded it for the presence of behaviour change techniques and the ‘near misses’ where techniques were almost – but not quite – used. We audited use of the partnership’s new drug cardex and explored multi-disciplinary team working.  We found using Likert scales challenging as people wanted to answer yes or no rather than express degrees of agreement.

The benefits

The behavioural scientists were able to work closely with the partners on all aspects of their complex project, changing the approach of the team away from discrete pieces of training and towards system level behaviour change.  The partnership lead said:

..actually I think it has made us think as a team…how we are working and how we approach things…the key is that it’s going to be the way it becomes a sustainable change rather than just you know you have to do this, gel on your hands before you go into the ward and then… but not making sure they understand why and you know all these other things, so… I think it will add a lot.

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