Volunteer Works to Improve Quality of Maternal and Newborn Care in Kosovo
Project HOPE volunteer Patti Nicks spent five weeks in University Hospital in Pristina, Kosovo working to improve the quality of care in the labor and delivery ward, where there is a great need for improvement.
Patti Nicks, RNC, MSN is a registered nurse who specializes in maternal and child health from British Columbia, Canada. She spent five weeks recently volunteering at the University Hospital in Pristina, Kosovo, where she provided side-by-side trainings and lectures to the health care professionals working in the labor and delivery ward to improve the quality of care provided to the new mothers and their babies.
I came to the University Hospital in Pristina, Kosovo to bring my knowledge and expertise in neonatal, perinatal and maternal and child health to the health professionals here. In particular, I came to impart my knowledge of infection control and the importance of breastfeeding. Over the course of five weeks, I worked alongside hospital staff in the labor and delivery ward and provided lectures and side-by-side trainings to the doctors and nurses at the hospital on topics such as post-partum hemorrhaging and infection control.
An average of 30 babies are delivered at University Hospital every 24 hours. I was able to work alongside nurses and doctors managing the care of the mothers and their newborns under difficult circumstances. Limited prenatal care and a lack of prenatal education make it difficult for the mother to understand what is going on inside her body. Due to the number of births, delivery is often rushed in order to empty a bed needed for the next delivery.
The nurses and doctors do amazing work under extreme conditions. Just five nurses manage the care of more than 40 patients and their newborns during the day, and the staff ratio decreases to just three nurses at night and on weekends. The amazing nurses do this unbelievable feat every shift with limited equipment and resources.
I am so incredibly thankful Project HOPE is here in Kosovo. There is a great deal Project HOPE can do to improve the quality of maternal and neonatal health care by training health care workers, providing for equipment needs and bringing health care practices up to the latest standards. It has been my privilege to be able to report back to Project HOPE on the needs I witnessed in Kosovo and begin to provide trainings to health care workers that will improve the quality of care for new moms and their babies in Kosovo in the future.