UWE trains Ghanaian midwives to spot domestic violence

Issue date: 29 March 2006

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An education and training programme devised by health care experts at the University of the West of England that helps midwives identify evidence of domestic violence will be taken up by the Ministry for Health in Ghana. 'Bristol Pregnancy and Domestic Violence programme' is the result of a local study by UWE researchers that has developed into a national training programme.

Research carried out prior to the development of the training programme demonstrated that of all women who experience domestic violence the first incident occurs during pregnancy in 30% of cases.

The Minister for Social Welfare in Ghana wants to address problems of domestic violence in Ghana and read about the UWE training programme. A delegation of 20 Ghanaian teachers, nurses and police will visit the UK in May 2006 to learn more about how the very successful methods now employed by midwives all over the UK can be translated to health care practice in Ghana.

Kathleen Baird, Senior Lecturer in Midwifery at UWE said, “We are delighted that this training programme is soon to have an international take up. It is wonderful that this small but non-the-less important project has had such a significant impact and grown to become viewed as best practice nationally. The training programme gives midwives the necessary skills to ask difficult questions and helps them to deal with a positive disclosure of domestic violence appropriately.”

Debra Salmon, Reader in Community Health Studies, also worked on the initial research project and the development of the training programme. She said, “The research has informed national policy and we are proud that despite being a small localised study that the research was robust and sustainable enough to show how we can usefully transfer knowledge to health care professionals. The training programme shows midwives how to practically introduce routine enquiry for domestic violence during pregnancy. But it goes beyond this by helping midwives understand where to go to get support for affected women and liaising with appropriate agencies.

“We know that we can help the Ghanaian health care professionals with training delivery. The idea is that they will learn how to use the package to cascade out to practitioners in Ghana when they return. However what they will need to take back with them is an understanding that to work effectively it is essential to have a multi agency response and the cooperation of a range of services including the police and women's organisations.”

Sir Howard Newby, Vice-Chancellor of the University of the West of England, said, “This excellent project exemplifies UWE's knowledge transfer expertise by using the results from a robust research project and translating the findings into a useful training programme. Debra and Kathleen can be justly proud that the training programme has attracted international interest following its successful impact here in the UK helping midwives to tackle a difficult and highly sensitive issue in their work.”


Editors notes:

The Bristol Pregnancy and Domestic Violence training programme was devised in partnership by the University of the West of England and North Bristol NHS Trust. The work was funded by the Department for Health and endorsed by the Royal College of Midwives.

More details about the programme and the evaluation can be found at http://www.nbt.nhs.uk/midwives/domesticviolence/index.html

The Training programme includes PowerPoint presentations, a CD Rom and written material focusing on the social context of domestic violence; domestic violence during pregnancy as a health issue; identifying domestic abuse; the role of the midwife; children and domestic violence; asking about domestic abuse and working with others.

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