Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Back in Nepal again

I'm currently on a flying visit to Nepal for just a week.  Next week I go onto Uganda and in April I'll be back in Cambodia.I'm here with the RCM's Global Midwifery Twinning Project (now two thirds complete) to ensure we have a clear direction for the remaining year of the project in Nepal, to meet our RCM volunteers and other RCM members here, to plan for our partner's forthcoming trip to Prague and the UK, to meet all the people involved in the project and the external stakeholders and to plan for the future after GMTP. That's a tall agenda in under a week!

I arrived last night and was delighted to meet a friend ( a Swedish midwife working here with UNFPA) on the flight from Delhi and to be met at the airport by a driver carrying a sign with my name on it.  It's always such a relief not to have to run the gauntlet of gannet-like taxi drivers at the airport.  I have an old Nokia phone with a Nepali SIM card so I topped it up at the airport - it's so important to be able to contact people here.  I changed some money at the airport too - it's so easy there.  I have learned from bitter experience that changing it in a bank here is very complicated and to be avoided at all costs!

I'm staying in a new place, a family-run guesthouse that's very friendly with yummy kiwi jam for breakfast and plenty of tea on tap (essential for me!) There's a new Indian restaurant just across from the guesthouse so handy for dinner. I'm having a vegetarian lent and it's so easy to be veggie in South Asia, with so many delicious veg curries.

It's been a very busy first day in-country. A very important meeting at UNFPA first thing, talking about how we can support each other's work in midwifery capacity building.  Their midwifery advisor leaves her post soon so our continued input will be especially welcome.  Then onto the new National Health Training Centre for a 5 day midwifery education workshop that our UK volunteers are facilitating, helping to bridge the gap between the nurse-midwife training currently on offer and the new midwifery curriculum soon to be introduced in Nepal . From there I went back to the volunteer's hotel for tea and to catch up with them on how their placements have been going to date. They are very senior midwives in the UK - one is a Head of Midwifery and the others are Senior Midwifery Lecturers.  They are doing a brilliant job and working so well together.  They have proved themselves very skilled negotiators!

This evening there was a formal reception and dinner to celebrate the workshop and network with VIPs - Deans and Vice Deans came from various universities who will be responsible for delivering the new midwifery curriculum.  I also met a UK RCM member midwife who has just managed to register as a midwife with the Nepal Nursing Council despite not being a nurse.  This is so exciting as it paves the way for more midwifery registration.  She is a fluent Nepali speaker and we hope to stay in touch and use her as a resource.  I was able to tell her about the RCM's online training tool i-learn, and it's i-portfolio.  Hopefully she will find these very useful for keeping up to date as a midwife.  I also met a Swedish Professor of midwifery also supporting midwifery education here: we shared experiences and made plans to keep in touch.

Back at the guest house there were many e mails to answer, including offering support to a volunteer in Cambodia struggling with her placement.  There's never a dull day in the life of a Global Professional Advisor!

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