Sunday, 13 April 2014

Reflections on Uganda - March 2014


I recently spent a week in Uganda with the RCM's director for Wales, Helen Rogers.  Sadly I couldn't blog whilst I was there as I got sick on day 2 and barely had energy to struggle through the days let alone blog at night.  However, we still had a productive trip and were enormously encouraged by the progress made with our Global Midwifery Twinning Project in the past year.  This time we stayed with friends rather than in a hotel: Michele and Phil Ball for the first few days then Deborah and Phillip Betts for our last weekend.  It was so nice to come back to a home at the end of the day and for me, feeling under the weather, it made all the difference to be able to wander out to the kitchen in the middle of the night!

Helen (right) with Michele Ball, UK midwife and RCM member living and working in Uganda
Phillip and Deborah, working with cocoa and vanilla growers in Uganda and DR Congo (Deborah and I went to school together!
The purpose of our visit was to agree a plan for the last year of our twinning project in Uganda and to attend a workshop being run by one of our volunteers Ann Thomson, Emeritus Professor of Midwifery from the University of Manchester.  Ann had been in country for 3 weeks, working with the midwifery associations, universities, NGOs and others to advise on the national midwifery curriculum and help to develop a midwifery research framework for Uganda.  Also in country were Emma Morris, a midwife from Shrewsbury on a placement with the Uganda Nurses and Midwives Council and Zeenath Uddin, a research and clinical midwife from London undertaking training of trainers in life saving skills.  A formidable team!

Emma (GMTP volunteer) conducting training in neonatal resuscitation with Ugandan Midwives

Mary Gorete, President of the Uganda Private Midwives Association, saying goodbye to Professor Ann Thomson

Helen and I had a punishing schedule of visits to agencies and individuals connected with supporting midwifery in Uganda, always taking a member of UPMA with us to help develop their networking and negotiating skills.  Particular highlights were visits to the Mildmay Campus (especially the children's HIV ward, full of love and hope) https://www.mildmay.org/overseas/uganda/  and meeting with Jean Chamberlain and Dr. Eve from Save the Mothers, an inspirational programme (http://www.savethemothers.org)


Mildmay are increasingly realising the value of working with midwives to address issues of sexual and reproductive health  in Uganda.  We had a very fruitful meeting planning how Mildmay can work with the Midwifery Association and how GMTP can support this.

We dropped in on a local branch meeting of the UPMA in Kampala
Plans for this final year include working with many stakeholders to support Uganda's first national midwifery education conference, supporting Ugandan midwifery educators as they develop Masters courses and modules in supervision and mentorship, supporting the development of the midwifery directorate at the Uganda Nurses and Midwives Council and continuing to support midwives in clinical practice through twinning.  Exciting but challenging times!

Me handing over some baby clothes and blankets, loving knitted by my church's new knitting club.  UPMA will distribute these to mothers on International Day of the Midwife (5 May). 




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