In April 2018, following the success of the previous CRADLE trials, members of the Kings CRADLE team, in association with the charity Hope Health Action, travelled to Bidibidi refugee settlement in Northern Uganda deliver the CRADLE Refugee Project. There were two main phases:
- Evaluation of the CRADLE VSA device to help detect serious disease in a symptomatic refugee population.
- Evaluation of the CRADLE VSA device to improve detection and monitoring of hypertension (high blood pressure) in the asymptomatic refugee population.
Bidibidi refugee settlement is home to 280,000 South Sudanese refugees fleeing ongoing civil conflict. Upon the team’s arrival, it was discovered that, although more permanent structures had been developed since its establishment in 2016, healthcare provision remained rudimentary, with facilities lacking basic medical supplies and equipment.
Very few health centres had blood pressure monitoring devices, and those present were old and inaccurate. Health workers were aware of this problem and its implications, and as a result the CRADLE VSA was welcomed throughout the settlement.
Over the course of two months, the CRADLE team trained over 450 Village Health Team members (VHTs) to use the CRADLE VSA (Phase 1). Each VHT was supplied with their own device to aid detection of sick patients in the community. A further 140 devices were distributed across the 17 health centres in Bidibidi, and relevant healthcare professionals trained.
During phase 2 (July 2018) VHTs used their CRADLE VSA devices to screen blood pressures of all household members over the age of 18 and all pregnant women in 14 villages in the refugee settlement. Four thousand readings were collected and these will be used to establish the need for improved care pathways for management of chronic hypertension.
Data collection in Bidibidi Refugee Settlement is due to finish in September 2018. The team will roll out the Project in Nakivale Refugee Settlement, home to 104 000 refugees from Democratic Republic of the Congo, from September 2018.