FoAN News & Events

Charting the Future of Perioperative Practice in Africa
Posted: Sun, Jun 6th 2021 at 15:17:33
Friends of African Nursing Canada (FoAN Canada) has worked in partnership with Friends of African Nursing, based in the United Kingdom, to facilitate leadership and provide perioperative focused nursing updates to our nursing colleagues in Africa. View and follow the pictorial poster displaying the participation and sharing of perioperative knowledge with our African perioperative nursing colleagues over the last decade. This poster was presented at the recent 2021 ORNAC National Conference and has been accepted for publication by the ORNAC Journal.

Ghana Visit, January 2020
Posted: Mon, May 31st 2021 at 21:31:06

Accra, Ghana Visit

January 2020



In January, I joined Diane Gilmour and Sarndra Pryme from FoAN UK and travelled to Accra, Ghana. The purpose of our visit to deliver a 3 day leadership and 2 day perioperative nurse training program to the Ghanaian nurses.





We were hosted by the team at the Medical & Surgical Skills Institute (MSSI), who looked after us very well in providing an excellent training facility, administrative support and food/beverages for daily lunches and morning and afternoon teas.


There were 50 delegates attending the leadership program, nurses from all backgrounds, some hospital and some community based. Some of the nurses had travelled over 8 hours by car to attend the program. The delegates joined in all of the activities, sharing their own knowledge and experiences. As a group, we had some very lively and engaging debates.


We had 34 delegates for the two day perioperative nurse program. These nurses work in a variety of roles in theatres from health care assistants to nursing leadership. They enjoyed the opportunity to network with colleagues and share practices. Some of the issues affecting theatre nurses in Ghana are the same as those faced by Canadian and UK nurses; lack of staff, lack of equipment and a lack of sufficient training. The Ghanaian delegates impressed us with their good humour and their passion for learning and developing their own practice areas.




During our visit we met with Rita Aryee, Director of Nursing Services at Korle Bu Hospital. Rita shared with us her vision for training and development for the nursing staff. Rita would like to develop a culture of coaching and mentoring. Rita is very supportive of the work and programs that FoAN UK has to offer. Rita attended one of FoAN’s leadership programs two years ago. Rita arranged for us to visit the main theatre suite in Korle Bu hospital. The staff were very welcoming and showed us around the theatres and recovery room. The visit was one of the highlights of the trip, go to the theatres and talk with perioperative colleagues.


I was fortunate that I was able to secure donations from AMT Electrosurgery (300 USB keys) and the UHN Western Hospital O.R. Manager (3 sets of O.R. scrubs, leadership books, pens, highlighters & laser pointers). I was able to donate several ORNAC conference bags, an additional 150 USB keys and other leadership books. The pens and highlighters were given to each of the nurses, as well as 75 of the USB keys. The other items, along with those donated by MSSI and FoAN UK, were distributed by draws after each of the programs. Each delegate also received a Certificate of Attendance.


Richard our driver from MSSI took us on a tour of Accra and we visited the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum and Memorial Park. This beautiful park is dedicated to the life of Ghana’s first president Kwame Nkrumah.




It was a privilege for me to be able to represent FoAN (Canada) and participate in delivering these programs in Accra, Ghana.


Submitted by


Linda Whyte RN CPN(C)

FoAN (Canada) Director





Ghana Report to FoAN Canada January 2018
Posted: Mon, May 31st 2021 at 21:28:57
Visit to Ghana - January 2018
A very productive week occurred in January 2018, with FoAN (UK) and FoAN (Canada) working together in a joint venture to deliver programs in Ghana. The programs were organized by FoAN (UK), with Medical & Surgical Skills Institute (MSSI) Ghana making all local arrangements, advertising the program, handling the registration of attendees, providing conference space, etc.
Three facilitators from FoAN (UK) and FoAN (Canada) travelled to Accra & Kumasi to deliver the programs – Kate Woodhead (UK), Diane Gilmour (UK) and Mary Knight (Canada).
The week before we travelled to Africa, an article was published in the Lancet which was very significant to our presentations. The article was titled “Perioperative patient outcomes in the African Surgical Outcomes Study: a 7-day observational cohort study” by Biccard et al, available online at, published January 3, 2018. The summary was that “despite a low-risk profile and few postoperative complications, patients in Africa were twice as likely to die after surgery when compared with the global average for postoperative deaths”. The article further described known barriers to the safe surgical treatment in Africa include low hospital procedural volumes, few hospital beds and a scare number of operating theatres, all of which are compounded by the geographical remoteness of many surgical hospitals and an absence of adequately trained staff. Obviously, the programs we were about to deliver were very timely!
Three programs were delivered during the week – a two-day Patient Safety Program, delivered once in Accra (Monday, Tuesday) and then in Kumasi (Wednesday, Thursday), and a one-day Perioperative Nursing Update (Friday) back in Accra. The programs were delivered at Medical & Surgical Skills Institute at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital (Accra) and the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (Kumasi).
Patient Safety Program
Topics in the two-day program on patient safety were: Understanding medical errors & patient safety; Patient identification; Communication; Ensure safe surgery; Reducing hospital-acquired infections (HAI); Accountability; Reducing the risk of falls; Teamwork & safety culture; Documentation & reporting; Stress & fatigue; Human factors & situation awareness; and, What to do when things go wrong.
There were 53 participants at the patient safety program in Accra and 13 participants in Kumasi. Some participants in Kumasi suggested the lack of attendees may be possibly due to most advertising having been done before the Christmas break.
Evaluations - Accra
48 / 53 evaluation forms were received from the patient safety program in Accra. A few of the delegates’ comments to the 3 questions asked included:
What have you enjoyed?
        It was an excellent programme.
Experiences of the facilitators (both positive and negative); These experiences were more relatable even though we work in different continents and have different systems. 
I have enjoyed the whole program. The tutors are very good, their teachings are excellent. Their efforts for African nurses are very appreciated.
The facilitators were experienced about the stuff they talked about. They could relate to the topic.
What could have been better?
Everyone should be given pen drive (USB/memory stick) with all lectures on it; Some of the slides were too tiny to visualize. (note: there was no ability to adjust the screen / projection in the room; all delegates have opportunity to review presentations online, with pdf provided for all presentations)
More video examples (note: there was one video on medication administration error which was very well received).
The time duration should be reduced next time (note: each day was 8 hours including breaks, but many delegates travelled long distances to reach the conference sites in unpredictable traffic).
What will you do differently as a result of this course?
Will always do the 5 rights when administering medication; Will always document every procedure done on a patient immediately; Will always record any incident boldly and clearly and not use jargon for future reference; Do proper handover and take up.
To keep my patient in a safe environment and also to improve documentation.
Going to look at my documentation skills as well as sharing mistakes and near misses so they don’t happen again – thanks!
I am empowered by this course and I am going to effect some change in my unit. Thank you.
I will be conscious about the safety of my patients and staff in the course of our duties.
After delivering the program on Monday, we were able to tour the O.R. at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital. It was good to see the use of the Surgical Checklist in the theatres! At the end of Tuesday’s program, certificates of attendance were distributed, and a group picture was taken.
Directly from delivering Tuesday’s program, we were off to the airport, travelling to Kumasi to begin the program all over! We were in the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, unfortunately sharing a divided conference room with a different session which detracted from our presentations.
Evaluations - Kumasi
12 / 13 evaluation forms were received from the patient safety program in Kumasi. A few of the delegates’ comments to the 3 questions asked included:
What have you enjoyed?
I really enjoyed the presentations in which we had group work, watched videos, etc. This actually gave me a clear understanding of those presentations.
The course in general; The relationship between the facilitators and participants.
I have really enjoyed every bit of the lecture. The tutors were knowledgeable, had broader insight on the topics and knew what they were about.
What could have been better?
The notice should reach the institutions early next time. Because this course will be useful to a lot of nurses but most of them were not aware of it.
To arrange accommodation for participants especially those from far places.
What will you do differently as a result of this course?
To ensure a double check of medication by a senior colleague before administering to patient; To ensure proper documentation without abbreviations and also report incidents that happen on the ward.
Through this workshop, I know that I am accountable to everything I do as a professional, and for that matter, I have to exhibit my duties with strict adherence to Code of Ethics of the profession.
I will assess risks in my ward; Ensure patient safety is integral part of my care; Document properly all the care I render to my patients; Ensure my staff get enough rest between shifts and reduce stressors as much as I can in the ward.
Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, Kumasi
Perioperative Update Program
When we arrived in Ghana, there were no registrants for Friday’s Perioperative Update program. But by Friday, a total of 96 nurses were in attendance, after much work by MSSI staff!
The perioperative update program included the following topics: Patient safety; Workplace bullying; Human factors & teamwork; Surgical site infection – WHO Guidelines; Surgical smoke management; Decontamination & ensuring sterility; Risk management & care of specimens; and, Normothermia. Joel Kpodo, a local nurse educator who is a FoAN Clinical Ambassador, presented a session on surgical smoke.
76 / 96 evaluation forms were received from the perioperative update program in Accra. A few of the delegates’ comments to the 3 questions asked included:
What have you enjoyed?
Workplace bullying. It made me understand the consequence of bullying on an innocent patient. How people are bullied without even knowing what to do.
I enjoyed every aspect of the teaching, the food and the reception awarded. In fact, if this kind of workshop to continue, we be good nurses and nurse our patients well.
The topics were just appropriate. Also, the fact that the presenters understood our condition in respect to lack of many things to work with, but still encouraged us to do better.
What could have been better?
Time. The time was very short. The lectures were squeezed into a little time. At least it should have been a 2-day workshop.
More often in-service educational programs and interactions, with Joel Kpodo, Kate Woodhead, Mary Knight, Diane Gilmour.
Group discussions on the various topics. This would have given me much chance to bring ideas out and also different ideas from others and also find a way forward in helping the patients that come to us.
Several participants indicated they would like to have the presentations handed out to them, or provided to them on a memory stick (all lectures were made available to download in pdf format).
What will you do differently as a result of this course?
I’ll put into practices what I have learnt from today to make myself a better health practitioner and render the best of care to my patients.
Change attitude towards work, giving priority to patient and implementing what is learnt appropriately to delivering proper health care.
I will see to it that the right thing is done at the right time in order to give quality care to my patient.
I will ensure proper sterile procedures are followed. I will ensure proper handling of surgical instruments. I will ensure that I prevent my patients from hypothermia. I will take initiatives that will ensure WHO standard practices in the theatre.
Thank you notes received from Medical & Surgical Skills Institute (MSSI):
Dear FOAN team,
This is Myron Aldrink the Chair of the MSSI Board of Directors.  I would like to join Kwame in expressing my appreciation for everything you have done.  You have provided very valuable training knowledge and resources - and have "gone the extra mile" with great passion and consideration.  On behalf of the MSSI Board, thank you for your wonderful long-time support and for your ongoing partnership with the MSSI.
Again - Thanks for everything you are doing to improve the quality of Africa Nursing.
With Sincere Appreciation
Myron J. Aldrink
Dear FOAN team,
I want to take this opportunity to express the sincere appreciation of the MSSI Staff for you recently teaming up with MSSI Ghana to train health professionals across the country on " Patient safety and Risk Management" and "update in theatre practices" Courses. We were impressed with the passion with which you taught these courses coupled with your preparedness to travel all the way to Kumasi to replicate these courses for the northern sector as well.
We indeed learnt a lot from your devotion to work. We also still continue to receive feedback from participants as to how much practical the courses were and the fact that they will make a big impact towards the provision of quality healthcare in their facilities.
We want to say a big thank you to the whole team as we look forward to a stronger collaboration in the future. Thank you
Kwame Agyire-Tettey, Director, MSSI
Medical and Surgical Skills Institute
It was an honour for me to be able to once again represent FoAN (Canada) and participate in delivering these programs in Ghana. Thank you to FoAN (Canada) for enabling me to attend!
Submitted by:
Mary Knight, FoAN (Canada) Chair
Maps of Africa and Ghana
Population – Accra 2.3 million                                                                                 Circles show participants’ home towns
Kumasi 2 million

World Patient Safety Day - 17 September 2020
Posted: Fri, Sep 25th 2020 at 17:34:03

Health Worker Safety: A priority for Patient safety.


A global campaign is being launched by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on 17 September to highlight and emphasise the importance of healthcare worker safety. As a pre-requisite for patient safety, WHO want members and countries to commit to and to take urgent and sustainable action to recognise that reducing the risk of harm to health workers is essential for patient safety. In this year of the Nurse and Midwife 2020, it is especially important to highlight the vital role of nurses and midwives in safe patient care, wherever in the world they work.


WHO cite that:

  • 134 million adverse events occur each year due to unsafe care in hospitals in low and middle income countries contributing to 2.6 million deaths annually.
  • 15% of hospital expenses can be attributed to treating patient safety failures in OECD countries.
  • 4 out of 10 patients are harmed in the primary and ambulatory care settings, up to 80% of harm in these settings can be avoided.

The call to action encourages health workers to be aware that:

  • Your own safety starts with you: Take care of your physical and psychological health
  • Protect your safety and that of the people you care for
  • Ensure you are trained and aware of infection prevention and control and implement appropriate measures
  • Proactively contribute to building and strengthening a safety culture at work
  • Improve your knowledge, skills and competencies for safety in health care
  • Know your rights and responsibilities and call for a safe work environment
  • Always report safety risks, violence, harassment or threats to the authorities
  • Promote and implement innovative safety practices within your organization


Friends of African Nursing (and WHO) would encourage healthcare providers to:

  • Create an open, equitable and transparent safety culture for health workers and patients which allows the reporting of safety incidents in a timely manner
  • Create a supportive, safe working environment and implement innovative safety practices based on a human factors and ergonomics approach
  • Empower health workers to provide safe and clean care
  • Ensure appropriate training and guidance in infection prevention and control
  • Provide sufficient resources to improve the safety of working conditions in health care settings
  • Engage health workers, patients and their families in continuous safety improvement practices
  • Prioritise and invest in occupational health and safety to improve patient safety
  • Implement activities on promoting role modelling and mental health to alleviate stress in the workplace
  • Ensure that mechanisms for the reward and motivation of health workers are in place and used appropriately

We, Friends of African Nursing as a non-governmental organisation support the objectives of World Patient Safety Day:


  • Raise global awareness about the importance of health worker safety and its interlinkages with patient safety
  • Engage multiple stakeholders and adopt multimodal strategies to improve the safety of health workers and patients
  • Implement urgent and sustainable actions by all stakeholders which recognize and invest in the safety of health workers, as a priority for patient safety
  • Provide due recognition of health worker's dedication and hard work, particularly amid the current fight against COVID-19


Kate Woodhead


Friends of African Nursing


September 2020


Visit to Zambia - January 2017
Posted: Sun, May 7th 2017 at 13:17:42
A very productive week occurred in January 2017, with FoAN (UK) and FoAN (Canada) working together in a joint venture to assist the perioperative nurses special interest group of Zambia (ZOTNIG) to devise national standards of perioperative nursing practice. A group of 19 senior nurses from hospitals and perioperative schools of nursing across Zambia gathered together at the Ndeke Hotel, Lusaka for a week of hard work. Their presence had been coordinated by Judith Munthali, chairperson of ZOTNIG, and their hospital release enabled by the Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Health.
Four facilitators from FoAN (UK) and FoAN (Canada) travelled to Lusaka to deliver the program – Kate Woodhead (UK), Stephanie Freeman (UK), Sally Pentecost (UK) and Mary Knight (Canada).
Monday morning began with a tour of the only tertiary teaching hospital in Zambia, to put the development of standards into context for us. It was very interesting, and the challenges faced in Africa are beyond our western understanding – with power outages common, even in the capital city. This results in instruments having to be high level disinfected rather than sterilized if necessary…. Each of us had brought some presents for the facility, and mine included surgical masks and hats, courtesy of a Winnipeg hospital, and a pair of goggles. My stethoscope is now put to good use in their recovery room. The goggles were particularly appreciated, as the HIV/AIDS prevalence is 15% nationally, with Lusaka’s being 20%. We were informed that each nurse receives one surgical mask which must last for one week.
Hospital tour ? Sally & Stephanie FoAN UK & Mary (FoAN Canada)
Hospital tour – Sally & Stephanie FoAN UK
& Mary (FoAN Canada)
Judith Munthali, Chair – ZOTNIG
We began the program, after an ice breaker on how processes can be different but still achieve the same result. Throughout the week, presentations were done on each topic to remind delegates of international best practice, and to provoke discussion. The presentations were delivered by the FoAN facilitators, and Judith from ZOTNIG delivered plans for the roll out of the WHO surgical checklist to operating theatres across Zambia. It was wonderful to have such a full team to assist with the presentations, but especially to facilitate the group work.
Each draft standard was devised by a small group of nurses, with input from the facilitators as necessary. This initial work was then reviewed by the whole group at the end of each day.
Group Work, which was then presented & discussed
Receiving feedback
The FoAN team worked long into each evening, typing up and formatting the standards that had been devised and presented by the groups and critiqued by the entire group, so that final review, further edits and approval could be done the following day.
FoAN facilitators typing up the standards each evening
Final review of draft standards and approval each day
Canada Day
Thursday was designated Canada Day, as FoAN (Canada) had contributed ¼ of the costs of delivering the program. The morning started with a short presentation on Canada by Mary, which along with pictures of our country, highlighted our animals which are very different from Africa’s! The picture of a bobcat brought much laughter! Zambians have a very sweet tooth, so the maple cookies I took for tea break were very much appreciated! At the end of Canada Day, I distributed “goodie bags”, which were (new) bags from Canadian conferences I had attended and filled with pens, pencils, highlighters, post-it notes, maple candies and many other items. It was a fun end to a special day!
By the end of Friday, 20 standards of practice had been completed, all of which had been reviewed, agreed, referenced and formatted. It was agreed that the standards would be reviewed by ZOTNIG in 2019. The work was presented to the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry, with Kate, Stephanie and Judith having a short visit with him on Friday afternoon. The Permanent Secretary, who is a surgeon, was delighted and invited us back to assist in devising some further standards. The Nursing Directorate are interested in FoAN’s Leadership program and will look for some funds to assist the return.
Thanks to a generous airline baggage allowance on Ethiopian Air, each delegate received a textbook along with their Certificate of Attendance and eyewear. It was wonderful to see my old Berry & Kohn textbook go to a nurse manager from a rural facility who was hoping he could receive an updated version of the textbook!
Presentation of Certificates, Textbooks & Eyewear
Our visit ended with a BBQ and social evening arranged by the delegates, a lovely way to end a most interesting and rewarding week!
14 / 19 evaluation forms were received. Delegates’ comments to the 3 questions asked included:
1. What have you enjoyed?
The commitment to work as a team and all the hard work to formulate perioperative standards; the lectures were detailed and had the required content; the facilitators were knowledgeable and delivered the relevant material.
The fact that I participated in the making of standards has made me happy. Even the whole workshop was great.
2. What could have been better?
The possibility of extending the workshop to 10 days (from 5); Time to look at every aspect of care was not sufficient, but however the content was okay as it covered the major standards of care.
The fact that I participated in the making of standards has made me happy. Even the whole workshop was great.
3. What will you do differently as a result of this course?
We definitely will be guided by the standards and thus improving patient care in the theatres; we will have evidence - based practice as we do our work.
I will implement the counting of all instruments used during surgery because there is evidence that even large instruments can be left in the patient as we saw during the presentations; I also look forward to ensuring that patients keep warm during surgery by ensuring warm fluids and/or blood are given during surgery to prevent hypothermia.
To advocate for the local policies on topics like surgical swab count; Promote team work among the surgical teams; Ensure that patients undergoing surgery are not exposed to excess cold To avoid hyperthermia.
It was an honour for me to be able to represent FoAN (Canada) and participate in delivering this program in Zambia. Thank you to FoAN (Canada) for enabling me to attend!
Submitted by
Mary Knight, FoAN (Canada) Vice-Chair
Maps of Africa and Zambia – circles show delegates’ home towns

Botswana Report
Posted: Mon, Apr 22nd 2013 at 12:23:19

Angela Konstanz and Kate Woodhead, FoAN (UK), and Jean Naudé FoAN (Canada), travelled to Gaborone, Botswana in March 2012 and taught 11 senior theatre nurses in a five day workshop how to train others in order to sustain good practice in their hospitals.

Jean Naud? in Botswana

Jean Naudé in Botswana

This was the fourth and final visit in the series of workshops developed by FoAN (UK). However, the participants asked FoAN (UK) to return in the near future to give them updates on infection prevention, theoretical and practical knowledge.

We were welcomed to Botswana by Mr. Colo Boitshoko, the General Secretary of the Nurses Association of Botswana (NAB), our hosts for the week, and a representative for the Chief Nursing Officer, Ministry of Health.

After presentations on the theory, lesson planning and practice of teaching others, each of the nurses did a micro teaching session and set action plans for the future. Each nurse outlined a future teaching session that they planned to deliver to their colleagues, these included:

  • Learning good communication skills
  • The opportunity to plan a lesson and teach the class
  • Planning what to teach students so that teaching is logical
  • Student teaching will be evaluated by questioning or a quiz
  • Teaching colleagues about different types of procedures

FoAN (Canada) sponsored one day of the workshop, paying for the participant’s meals, travel and lodging for the day.

Jean introduced the day by giving a slide show of Canada. Canadian flags, pens and pins were handed out to the delight of the nurses. The participants were extremely grateful and thanked FoAN (Canada) profusely.

In addition, we visited Princess Marina Hospital in Gaborone. We were greeted by the theatre Matron and given a tour of the Main and Gyne theatres. The theatres were spotless although lacking in supplies. Rows of empty carts and cupboards showed the dire need for such basic supplies such as sponges, sutures, masks and gloves in the theatres, and oxygen equipment in the recovery room.

Surgeries are actually cancelled due to lack of these basic necessities.

The Gyne theatres were badly in need of new floors, light bulbs, mattress pads and furniture.

The Matron was delighted with the supplies we brought, and asked Kate to write a report on any considerations which we may have following our visit. As a non theatre nurse and recently in the position, she was looking for feedback and support from the visitors!

The final morning was spent on a’ Leadership Management’ panel discussion.

The nurse’s issues were:

  • Staff shortages
  • ‘Specialty nurse’ shortages
  • No perioperative program
  • Supplies / equipment shortages
  • Staff being moved by the Ministry regardless of specialty or location (staff can be moved anywhere in the country for an unlimited time)
  • No trained recovery room nurses
  • Sterilization equipment, solutions etc. not enough and not working, few technicians available to service
  • Non active perioperative association
  • No standardized orientation program for non theatre trained nurses

One of the outcomes of the visit was a renewed interest in reviving the Botswana Perioperative Association. With encouragement and sharing of materials, the group is determined to have the association active again.

At the closing ceremony, an official ‘handover’ of the nursing textbooks we brought for the NAB library was made to Mr. Boitshoko.

A sincere thank you goes to the Nurses Association Botswana for all their assistance in planning and execution of the workshop.  Irene, NAB secretary, did an amazing job photocopying, phoning and generally taking good care of us.

Also thanks to “our team”, Kate and Angie were amazing to work with and between us we discovered that combined; we had over 100 years of perioperative experience!

I am extremely grateful for the wonderful opportunity to visit Botswana and, with others, help to make a difference in our African colleagues’ perioperative lives.

The impact statements from the nurses are proof positive that the topics delivered have been timely, appropriate and welcomed.

  • ‘…I developed skills and knowledge which I will go to teach my colleagues’
  • ‘… great impact on my career and professional development and recognition in my area of work’
  • ‘…I will teach my colleagues skills and knowledge because I have gained confidence and I know how to do it. No more worry during teaching sessions’
  • ‘ …FoAN has transformed us into future managers’
  • ‘…I have a positive influential power because of liaising with FoAN’
  • ‘…enabled us to evaluate the way we were doing things and added new information’
  • ‘…are able to guide and coach other members of theatre’
  • ‘… opened our eyes in the right direction, looking at the information we have learned and imparted to our fellow colleagues’
  • ‘….FoAN has empowered us with peri-operative nursing education and we have made strong teams’

It is sobering to realize that others who have so little, struggle every day to deliver good patient care, meanwhile doing it with humour and good grace.

We are so fortunate to have basically unlimited resources and, in comparison, nothing to complain about at all.

It is a lesson for all of us.

Respectfully submitted by
Jean Naudé RN, CPN(C),
Secretary, FoAN (Canada)
March 16, 2012