Friday, 21 March 2014

A crazy week in Kathmandu

I'm coming to the end of a crazy week in Kathmandu.  I've loved staying in the 'At Home' guesthouse - it's a large family house so much more friendly than a hotel and the other guests are really interesting - German, British, Swedish and Nepali.  We all sit around the breakfast table and I enjoy the sharing of experiences and ideas.  The only down side is that our volunteers are staying on the other side of town but we've still managed to share several meals together and meet up during the day. There is a yoga class on the rooftop several mornings a week and some participants stay for breakfast so there are lots of interesting people to meet.
Me with our three midwife volunteers: Asha (Senior Lecturer in Midwifery, England); Fiona (Head of Midwifery, England); Hilary (Lead Midwife for Education, Scotland)
Asha, Fiona and Hilary are on a four week placement helping to 'upskill' Nepal's midwife teachers so that they will be able to deliver the midwifery education curriculum once it starts.  They have prepared and delivered a fantastic programme including leadership.  All participants (including me) did the Myers Briggs Personality Test and I was surprised that my profile had changed considerably since I first took the test in the 1990s.  I'm a lot more T and J than I used to be! I gave a short presentation to the workshop today about the Global Midwifery Twinning Project and enjoyed showing photos from all three countries and talking through some of the challenges midwives are facing.  The Nepalese midwives were so interested in what their sisters are doing across the world.
Planning their ideal birthing rooms. and thinking about small changes they could make right now to improve the environment for birthing women

Role playing birth in upright positions.  They were fascinated (and we had a lot of fun!)

Today I attended a Human Resources for Health workshop in the 5 star 'Yak and Yeti' Hotel - take a look at the website, it's an incredible place  It was a shame we couldn't stay for lunch!  It was a great opportunity to network with health ministers, heads of professional associations, Deans of Universities, NGOs and other agencies and do some advocacy on behalf of the Midwifery Society of Nepal. Hopefully the Universities will soon agree to deliver the midwifery curriculum - but everything here is entrenched in stultifying political red tape.  It's very frustrating.

I had meetings with UNFPA, Ministry of Health and Nursing Council representatives in the afternoon then took the volunteers out for dinner this evening, together with a British Midwife living here in Nepal and her lovely 12 year old daughters.  Tomorrow is meetings and project plans before leaving for the airport at 6am on Sunday morning - and doing all of this again in Uganda next week!

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