Margaret Mungai is Deputy Director Nursing at Moi Teaching & Referral Hospital in Eldoret Kenya.
Having worked as a nurse rising through the ranks she is responsible of ensuring quality evidence-based care is provided for inpatients and outpatients along various specialisations as well as ensuring mentorship of nursing students and post graduate nurses. As a wound care specialist, SCI care and research became her priority after encountering many SCI patients with wounds.
As part of a group of nurses Margaret is undertaking a case study of two patients they currently caring for at their hospital. Their work highlights the difficulties faced by SCI patients in Kenya which is similar to other developing countries.
As a wound care nurse Ms Mungai encounters SCI patients with extensive pressure injury wounds that are very challenging for the multidisciplinary SCI team within her region. There is no SCI-dedicated ward and the neurosurgical ward is overcrowded meaning many patients are sent home to await surgery, or treated conservatively and discharged for home-based care (there is no formal rehabilitation services programme). Many patients return to hospital with infections, pressure injury wounds, and joint and ligament contracture. In view of these occurrences, collaborations on research and care provision models aimed at community, family and health workers, would help improve SCI patient outcomes. These would include focus on appropriate primary care interventions and referrals, rehabilitation services, and health care team SCI knowledge and skills competency training. Such collaborations will nurture SCI centres of excellence, with highly-skilled multidisciplinary SCI health care teams within the region, and in the long run provide easier access to SCI services for patients.
Margaret shares her experiences from the conference.
“The 60th International Spinal Cord Society Annual Scientific Meeting (ISCOS 2021:Virtual) was a once in a life time experience. Though virtual the ability to navigate from the auditorium to the exhibition halls, to the poster halls and to the networking lounge felt unbelievably real. The presentations were very insightful in a broad spectrum aspect of spinal cord injury care and research.
Attendance of ISCOS 2021 presentations enabled me to experience different researches done and continuing by SCI specialists all over the world which was really encouraging in my SCI research journey though still a novice. I was able to join the SCoRH establish connections with researchers who are very kind and supportively guided and encouraged me. Similarly I have met members of AFSCIN and will work together from our region of Kenya.
Additional benefits included learning about basic SCI care modalities like urinary and bowel management aspects not routinely done in our hospital which am looking forward to implement once we have developed a cohesive SCI research group at our unit.
It was very humbling and unexpected to listen to presentations by people living with SCI and more so families working through conception, pregnancy, child birth and upbringing families as SCI mothers.
ISCOS 2021 brought me to realize the need more than ever to harness a multidisciplinary health care team with interest in SCI care and research. I was so encouraged to complete the current case study we are doing with 4 other nurses highlighting the plight of SCI patients in Kenya as we look forward to collaborating with SCI researchers interested in undertaking collaborative research with developing countries as we have many SCI patients in our hospitals and in the communities.
ISCOS 2021 highlight was the realization that there is so much out there to improve SCI care so as to differentiate it from routine care for bedridden patients as is the norm in most of our health care facilities. Connecting and collaborating with SCI care and research individuals and groups will make all the difference from the smallest practical ways within and beyond our regions and more so in this digital era.”