Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Second GMTP Nepal Trip September 2013 - Day One

We arrived in Nepal at 3pm this afternoon and have our first meeting at 6pm.  Little rest for the wicked!  I'm here for the second time in my role as Global Midwifery Advisor to the Royal College of Midwives' Global Midwifery Twinning Project.  I'm travelling with Gillian Smith, Director for the RCM in Scotland.  For this project, Scotland is twinned with Nepal.  Senior Scottish (and some English) midwives volunteer here for periods of 2-4 weeks, helping to grow the midwifery profession and midwives association in Nepal, in addition to the workshops that occur every six months developing different aspects of midwifery regulation, education and association.  Gillian has a crucial role in the project, helping to orientate volunteers and others, supporting the project's activities and relationships, and promoting Nepal and the Twinning Project in Scotland.  I'm delighted she's here with me to see the project for herself and to develop a deeper understanding of the context of midwifery in Nepal.  She is also blogging during this trip so you can follow her at

This coming weekend Nepal will be holding its first ever midwifery conference with almost 300 delegates. Gillian and I will be giving a couple of speeches and chairing some sessions, plus doing lots of networking with officials, agencies and key people involved in trying to get midwifery education and regulation off the ground in Nepal.  At present there is no separate midwifery registration or direct entry course and we have been contributing to the effort to establish these as quickly as possible, and to get midwives on the ground, saving lives.  Nepal has been working hard to reduce its maternal mortality rate through training skilled birth attendants (a short crash course in emergency obstetric care) but there is good evidence that midwives are the long term solution

We also hope to undertake some evaluation of the project at this, the midway point, so we have a busy schedule lined up. My colleague Delicia, our project administrator, is also here with us helping MIDSON (The Midwifery Society of Nepal) to organise the conference  and two UK midwife volunteers are here supporting local midwives alongside us. The Asia Advisor for the International Confederation of Midwives will also be here for a few days - she's an amazing, inspirational midwife from Afghanistan who I met on my first trip here.  We're hoping to have a good time all together but, more importantly, to make a difference.   I will then fly on to Cambodia to do the whole process again, and will be away for a total of 3 weeks. 

Organising a trip like this takes a huge effort.  Aside from the hotel and flight bookings, currency, phone, packing and other resources required, family life in the UK continues as normal.  Dogs need walking, daughter transporting to various activities, meals cooking, church and other commitments covering... and the family needs loving and nurturing.  I am immensely grateful to my wonderful husband Stephen for being such a great Dad to Hannah and for supporting me in my role, but also to our parents, dog walkers, family and friends who help out in various ways, to those who follow and encourage me via Facebook and Blog, colleagues who hold the fort and answer emergencies queries from afar, and those who love, pray and send good wishes.  It wouldn't be possible without you.


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