Teaching neuraxial anesthesia techniques for obstetric care in a Ghanaian referral hospital: achievements and obstacles

Anesth Analg. 2015 Jun;120(6):1317-22. doi: 10.1213/ANE.0000000000000464.


Anesthesia providers in low-income countries may infrequently provide regional anesthesia techniques for obstetrics due to insufficient training and supplies, limited manpower, and a lack of perceived need. In 2007, Kybele, Inc. began a 5-year collaboration in Ghana to improve obstetric anesthesia services. A program was designed to teach spinal anesthesia for cesarean delivery and spinal labor analgesia at Ridge Regional Hospital, Accra, the second largest obstetric unit in Ghana. The use of spinal anesthesia for cesarean delivery increased significantly from 6% in 2006 to 89% in 2009. By 2012, >90% of cesarean deliveries were conducted with spinal anesthesia, despite a doubling of the number performed. A trial of spinal labor analgesia was assessed in a small cohort of parturients with minimal complications; however, protocol deviations were observed. Although subsequent efforts to provide spinal analgesia in the labor ward were hampered by anesthesia provider shortages, spinal anesthesia for cesarean delivery proved to be practical and sustainable.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analgesia, Obstetrical / methods*
  • Anesthesia, Obstetrical / methods*
  • Anesthesia, Spinal / methods*
  • Anesthesiology / education*
  • Cesarean Section*
  • Clinical Protocols
  • Curriculum
  • Developing Countries
  • Education, Medical, Graduate / methods*
  • Female
  • Ghana
  • Humans
  • Medical Missions
  • Pregnancy
  • Program Development
  • Program Evaluation
  • Referral and Consultation*
  • Teaching / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome