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RCOG runs the first two Excellence in: Obstetric Skills courses

On 29 August 2015, a multidisciplinary faculty of O&G consultants, trainees, midwives and a project manager set out for Kitovu Hospital, Uganda to spend two weeks delivering the training course, Excellence in: Obstetric Skills.

Catherine teaching shoulder dystocia

The faculty reached the health facility on Sunday 30 August and spent the following day preparing the equipment, models, lectures and trainee manuals for the delegates’ arrival. Each course was three days of intensive learning for the delegates and included:

  • Lectures
  • Discussion groups
  • Practical hands-on workshops
  • Lived experiences from fistula patients
  • Simulated emergency scenarios to put their knowledge to the test in a pressurised environment

The two-year initiative plans to train Ugandan midwives, nurses and doctors in emergency obstetric management with a focus on preventing the onset of obstetric fistula. The future goal is for training to be delivered almost entirely by local Ugandan trainers.

Week 1

Dr Gonza

During week one, 22 delegates attended the course from health centres of varying sizes from around the region. They shared their experiences of delivering health care to women in a rural setting with poor infrastructure and limited access to equipment and drugs. They told the RCOG faculty of problems referring patients to bigger centres where their families could not afford to pay for transport or instances of needing a doctor to take over but the doctor never arriving. 

They successfully delivered lectures and hands-on training to the second cohort of delegates. Their enthusiasm to teach came across strongly and they explained to us that their other colleagues back in the centres were keen to support them to become trainers. The faculty asked eight health workers with an interest in teaching to come back after the course and learn to become trainers for course two. 

One nurse, Proscovia, told the faculty – ‘a senior midwife said it would be beautiful for me to come back and teach the rest of (us) better care for mothers.’

‘We must do more to give women good health care – it’s our job. It’s a woman’s right to access good health care.’

Local midwife

Week 2

Faculty (Ugandan and UK) and delegates from week two of the September courses

During the second week, word had spread among colleagues about the course and nearly 40 delegates arrived for training.

The interest in the course demonstrated the desire for practical training but also for continuing professional development, which is something the delegates have limited or no access to at the moment.

The faculty had to ask some to come back in November for their training so that health workers from the district of Rakai could be prioritised. Rakai is a remote region south of Masaka on the border with Tanzania. A large number of fistula cases come from this region, demonstrating a significant need to improve access to quality health care and reduce the delays for women visiting and accessing health care during labour. By training trainers from the Rakai region, we hope to begin to lower the number of fistula cases that present at Kitovu further down the line.

November courses

The next two courses will run during the first two weeks in November. They will be run jointly with UK and Ugandan multidisciplinary faculty. We also plan to invite NGO partners to observe the courses with the view to supporting us to take the initiative to other parts of Uganda and progress the Excellence course training beyond the initial two-year life of the project.

Sponsors and support

This project is supported by the Tropical Health & Education Trust (THET) as part of the Health Partnership Scheme, which is funded by the UK Department of for International Development (DFID).

We are extremely grateful to our partner Kitovu for all their efforts to support the course and run it alongside us, particularly Dr Maura Lynch, Sister Maria Goretti and Sister Bernadette for their tireless work in ensuring delegates are invited and adding their expertise during the course.

The Laura Case Trust has provided invaluable support to the project so far, They funded a summer placement for Dr Enid Michael to support the preparation for the project. Dr Michael visited small rural health centres to encourage delegates to attend and collected baseline data with a local Ugandan consultant to set up the evaluation mechanisms for the project. In addition, they contributed towards delegate accommodation, subsistence, equipment costs and trainee manuals alongside THET.

We are also hugely grateful to Mr Marcus Filshie for his support which has allowed us to send a trainee, Dr Dalia Saidan, to join the Excellence faculty and carry out follow-up activity to support the project. Dr Dalia is now staying on at Kitovu for a short time to visit delegates to gather qualitative feedback and learn more about delivering health care in their settings. 




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