Showing posts from October, 2013

North to South

Now the Advocacy workshop is over, I am concentrating on the mid-term evaluation of our Global Midwifery Twinning Project.  This has taken me out of Kampala, past the Equator, to visit midwives up-country where our GMTP volunteer midwives have been based, learning about Ugandan midwifery, providing training in Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care and role-modelling woman-centred care.
Yesterday we visited three private midwives clinics all providing community-based midwifery services, many in remote areas currently in poverty until the rains come.  All of these small centres are providing 'gold-standard' midwifery care with continuity, privacy, cleanliness, good clinical standards and geographical accessibility.  However, they are often under-utilised for maternity services as women have to pay.  Instead, women stay at home to deliver with a Traditional Birth Attendant, or use the government health posts which are under-resourced and under-staffed.
We visited one such govern…

The sound of singing in Kampala

So our workshop finished yesterday with the sound of singing. There is nothing quite like African voices raising the roof and the song was our GMTP anthem, developed originally for the RCM staff conference back in July.

It’s a round in three parts with words about the need for more midwives across the world (written with help from my creative husband), set to a hymn tune I first learned from American Mennonites in Cambodia!

The words to the song are: 1.Worldwide midwives far too few, ­­ worldwide midwives far too few. 2.Twinning, training, building capacity, changing lives 3.Education, regulation and association.
 Follow this link to listen to a recording

According to the State of the World’s midwifery Report (UNFPA, 2011 there is a global shortage of three hundred and fifty thousand skilled midwives.  Three hundred thousand women die in childbirth each year and more than thirty times that number s…

Wednesday in Uganda

It’s been a great day but I feel like I’ve been run over by a bus.  So much has been happening, so many people have been coming and going and there has been so much information to take in.  Bertha is doing a great job and is working everyone really hard!  Today was all about refining the problems facing midwifery in Uganda and identifying (a) what is feasible to address with an advocacy strategy and (b) what is outside the remit of a professional association.  Some concepts were shelved as it became apparent they were being addressed by others or were too complex for this organisation at this stage.  Others, were subjected to fierce critical analysis and came out completely changed!  I personally have learned much about the theory of advocacy and how to facilitate learning about it - I know this will be really useful for the life of the project and beyond.  Bertha has a ‘bag of tricks’ that keeps the conversation lively and different people are appointed each day as timekeeper, energ…

Hello from Uganda

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 Ente…

Some thoughts on volunteering

Volunteering is the 'in-thing' right now.  David Cameron is promoting 'The Big Society', supposedly unleashing the social energy that exists in the UK to help build a better, healthier society. Closer to home, my daughter is undertaking The Duke of Edinburgh Award and must volunteer in the community every week for three months to qualify for the award.  My good friend and walking buddy Anita runs' My Ten Days' encouraging and supporting owners and managers of small to medium size enterprises (SMEs) to give one employee ten days paid leave to do voluntary work or fund raising (

Yesterday I discovered my hairdresser Heather has just returned from 4 weeks volunteering in a school in Uganda - I leave for my second trip to Uganda tomorrow so you can imagine we had a lot to talk about.
Volunteering aims to benefit society.  The Royal College of Midwives' Global Midwifery Twinning Project aims to help reduce materna…