Torbay awarded £96,000 grant to help improve patient care in Kenya

Torbay awarded £96,000 grant to help improve patient care in Kenya
Mike Swart, Ellie Forbes, Josephine, John, Jason and Jacquie, GRASPIT course in Nanyuki June 2013

Published: 10 September 2015

Torbay Hospital has been awarded £96,000 funding under the UK Government’s Health Partnership Scheme to establish a training programme in conjunction with the National Resuscitation Council of Kenya (NRCK) to improve care for acutely sick patients in Kenya.

The training programme called GRASPIT (Global Recognition and Assessment of the Sick Patient and Initial Treatment) has been developed over the past four years by Torbay Hospital health professionals: Sister Hazel Robinson (Intensive Care), Matron Ellie Forbes (Child Health) and Consultant Anaesthetists Mike Swart and Matt Halkes, in conjunction with their Kenyan colleagues in Nanyuki, Mombasa and Nairobi.

The GRASPIT course focuses on the recognition of abnormal vital signs, systematic approached assessment and prompt initial treatment. It is currently delivered regularly in three district hospitals in Kenya (Nanyuki, Nyahururu and Kitale) as well as Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi. Over 700 people have been trained in GRASPIT since 2012.

Matt Halkes, Consultant Anaesthetist and Director of Education at Torbay Hospital, said: “Over the past few years Torbay Hospital has developed formal partnerships with Nanyuki and Nyahururu Hospitals in Kenya.

“We and the NRCK are absolutely delighted to receive this substantial grant which will enable us to introduce the course into four new hospitals to help enhance staff skills in the management of sick patients.

“Each hospital will be provided with the training, equipment and support required to be able to continue delivering GRASPIT courses independently in the future.”

John Wachira, Kenyan Medical Specialist, NRCK Chairperson comments: “This project is in line with the Kenyan new constitution (2010) which enlists ‘emergency medical care as a right for all citizens’. Published work shows ‘large gaps in essential emergency care capabilities were identified at all facility levels in Kenya’. * The GRASPIT course offers an emergency care package for improving the known deficiencies and this grant will enable widespread teaching of the course. We are very excited about the difference it will make to emergency care in Kenya.”

Over two years, the project will aim to:

  • deliver an integrated multi-professional educational programme
  • introduce GRASPIT into new institutions
  • provide learning materials including a web based portal
  • provide ‘Train the Trainers’ course
  • develop a national support network for GRASPIT trainers
  • see improved recognition and management of sick patients using GRASPIT principles
  • see improved capacity to manage change and undertake improvement projects
  • enable a formal evaluation of the critical factors influencing the success of introducing training programmes into Kenyan Hospitals

Justine Greening, International Development Secretary, said: “The world class doctors and nurses, surgeons and anaesthetists that make up our NHS have the potential to transform healthcare in the world’s poorest countries. We saw the amazing work NHS volunteers did saving lives from Ebola in Sierra Leone.

“The Health Partnership Scheme has already sent Portsmouth stroke specialists to Ghana, Cambridge paramedics to Burma and London surgeons to Gaza.

“This new grant will harness the skills and expertise of health workers from Torbay Hospital to improve the care of acutely sick patients across Kenya.”

Ben Simms, Chief Executive at THET, said: “The world faces an acute shortage of trained health workers. This is why these collaborations are so exciting. Our colleagues will be travelling overseas to improve the knowledge and skills of health workers in countries with next to no capacity in emergency treatment. They do so as volunteers, sharing the very best of what the NHS has to offer with countries working hard to provide healthcare to all citizens. In the process, they will acquire fresh insights to benefit their work back here in the UK.”

Notes to editors:

  1. * (BMJ Open 2014;4:e006132 doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2014-006132)

  2. Information on the GRASPIT course: GRASPIT is a one-day multi-professional and multi-specialty course that focuses on the recognition of abnormal vital signs, systematic assessment of patients using an ABCDE approach (Airway, Breathing, Circulation, Disability, Exposure), and prompt initial treatment.

    A key component is the promotion of teamwork through effective communication using the SBAR tool (situation, background, assessment, recommendation). The course is suitable for all levels of experience from healthcare support workers through to senior staff and is applicable to all specialties. In 2012 the course was accredited by the National Resuscitation of Council of Kenya.

    The course has been developed with support from the charities EGHO (Exploring Global Health Opportunities – and MEAK (Medical and Educational Aid to Kenya and a previous THET grant.

  3. The Health Partnership Scheme With a shortage of 4.25 million health workers around the world, the growing gap between the supply of appropriately trained health workers and the demand for their services is a key issue for underdevelopment and poverty worldwide.

    The scheme also benefits volunteers as they return to the NHS with increased knowledge, better leadership skills and an improved ability to deal with complex situations under pressure.

    The scheme is funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID). To date, nearly 40,000 health workers in low- and middle-income countries have received the training and education necessary to address a wide range of issues, such as maternal and child health, mental health, trauma care and palliative care. This includes 5,000 nurses, 3,000 midwives, 3,000 community and traditional health workers, 3,000 doctors, 3,000 clinical officers and medical assistants, and 8,000 medical and health-care students.

    Nearly 1,500 UK health professionals have volunteered to deliver this training, often using their personal holiday or study leave to do so. HPS is managed by The Tropical Health and Education Trust (THET). For more information, visit: