I’m in Uganda for 12 days with the Global Midwifery Twinning Project. It’s my second time here – what a joy to meet these midwives again, and those who are working alongside them. This time I knew the face meeting me at the airport, Bonne, UPMA’s driver. I was carrying a very special parcel for him, a set of binoculars from my colleagues Helen and Breedagh who came to Uganda with me in April. Bonne had taken them to the Botanical Gardens where they looked at the birds through Helen’s binoculars. Bonne was amazed – and now he has his own pair. He was overjoyed with his present and I was happy to have carried it for him from the UK. My suitcase was mostly filled with midwifery teaching materials. I also carried an extra suitcase for another charity that had to be collected at Heathrow. This was arranged by e mails via Malaysia, France and Leamington Spa… happily all made it through customs without incident. Note to self: must travel lighter!
It’s over an hour’s drive from Entebbe airport to the Hotel in Kampala (Kampala doesn’t have its own airport). It’s nice being back in the same hotel – the staff are so friendly and though the rooms are simple the place is clean and the food is tasty and plentiful. The workshop is here too which makes the mornings simple!
Day one was hectic, meeting the Commissioner/Chief Nurse at the Ministry of Health as I had barely stepped off the plane. I then spent some time with the consultant leading the workshop, as we’ve only ever met by Skype. She’s from Bolivia and is a world expert on developing Advocacy Strategies with midwifery associations. She’s doing a great job, and I’m enjoying her company too. We had a pre-workshop meeting later that afternoon with UPMA, understanding everyone’s expectations of the workshop. We carried on working through the evening, planning the rest of my time here.
Today we started our workshop and had participation not just from UPMA (Uganda Private Midwives Association) but also from parliamentarians, Ministry of Health, Universities, NGOs, UN agencies and others. I gave a small speech about our project, and showed some photographs from the other countries. Bertha (our consultant) helped us to understand what Advocacy is and is not, and what steps are involved. This afternoon the participants identified potential issues around which a midwifery advocacy strategy could be developed and did some analysis of these. One group wants an advocacy campaign to train male midwives – that led to an interesting debate!
Bertha and I hired a driver (Wilson) this evening and went to the Kibera Country Club (very posh!) to meet Michele Ball, a British Midwife and RCM member working in Uganda who helped us access hospitals on our last visit which was hugely appreciated. It was great to catch up with Michele and have a change of scene.
Internet is very intermittent at the hotel and I can’t post this now (or Facetime my family L) but hopefully I can post at breakfast time and add some photos from the past 2 days. Night night!