Friday, 15 January 2016

Negotiating Access for Action Research

I’ve now been back in Uganda for over a week and the team is growing.  Eleanor, the RCM’s Global Projects Officer, arrived on Thursday and tomorrow we will welcome Dr. Lucie Byrne-Davis and Dr. Jo Hart from Manchester University’s ‘Change ExchangeProject’ who are working alongside our MOMENTUM mentorship action research project, helping us to maximise the effectiveness of health behaviour change interventions.

Due to double-booking at the lovely Emmaus Guest House, and to enable our UK midwifery consultants to stay together as a team, Eleanor and I have moved out to the ‘Christian Glory Guest House’ down the road.  So far it has been rather un-glorious but it’s only a bed – we are taking meals with the team and out all day.
View of Lake Victoria from Emmaus Guest House this morning
Our consultants headed out to their project sites for the past two days, meeting their ‘twins’ with whom they will work together, face to face and remotely, for the next 18 months and seeing the context, opportunities and challenges of their workplaces.  We’re experiencing the reality of negotiating access to sites, especially where information is not shared and access must be assured at many different levels.  However, due to the tact and diplomacy of our consultants, based on their many years of midwifery experience, everyone has built good relationships and gained engagement with  the project.   Meanwhile, Eleanor and I have been working with our Ugandan Partner Midwifery Association to plan next week’s workshops and meet more important stakeholders at a national level. We now have a workshop  programme and everyone will spend the weekend preparing the sessions they are leading as well as getting some R&R.  Trips to the nail salon and supermarket, swimming and ice cream have been mooted along with a desire to try some different churches including Catholic Mass and the Anglican Cathedral service on Sunday.  I suspect some may also spend Sunday morning catching up on sleep!

With Aine Alam (in white), meeting Agatha (in red) who trained as a midwife at Lewisham and Pembury Hospitals in the 1960s. Now in her 70s she's running a private midwifery home in Uganda, is a member of the Private Midwives Association and was renewing her license at the Nursing and Midwifery Council when we bumped into her.

We had excellent meetings today with a Nursing and Midwifery School Principal who is also Chair of the Nursing and Midwifery Council, a Professor of Nursing and Midwifery who is the Chair of the NMC’s Education Committee and the Assistant Director General at the Ministry of Health who appeared equally interested in Northern Irish Politics as he did our programme!  It’s great to have buy-in from these very important individuals and we hope they will attend the opening day of our workshop to give their blessing.

With Liz Bannon (one of our team who has worked for the Nursing and Midwifery Council in the UK), Mary from the Uganda Private Midwives Association, me and Sister Stella, Chair of the Ugandan Nursing and Midwifery Council and Principal of the Nsambya Catholic School of Nursing and Midwifery.  A formidable nun!

Next instalment in another few days.  Meanwhile, thanks for reading.

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