The District's first Vocational Training Team visited Kamuli Mission Hospital in Uganda in April 2014 and returned in September 2014 to work with the medical staff and tutors at the hospital and nursing school to develop training in emergency birth skills
Vocational Training Team visits to Kamuli Mission Hospital in 2014
Team Recruitment and Planning
In the summer of 2013 we advertised the opportunity to join our district’s Vocation Training Team to go to Kamuli Mission Hospital in Uganda to develop a training programme in maternal emergency skills for midwives and nurses. We had a strong field of candidates supported by a large number of clubs from across the district. In September 2013 we held the interviews and selected four team members to join the team leader, Gillian Pearce, a midwife and member of Elthorne-Hillingdon Rotary Club, on the visit to Kamuli. Gillian had been developing the project idea since her visit to Kamuli in April 2010.
Gillian Pearce – Midwife and Team Leader
Aisha Alzouebi – Obstetrics & Gynaecology Senior Registrar in Hillingdon
Jacqui Gillbanks – Midwife in Banbury
Jide Menakaya – Consultant Paediatrician in Hillingdon
Laura Wallbank – Midwife in Reading
Gillian, Jide, Aisha and Jacqui went to Kamuli Mission Hospital and its neighbouring Nursing School for two weeks in April 2014.
Gillian, Laura and Jacqui then had a follow up visit in September 2014.
Planning meetings were held where the team members discussed the practicalities of delivering a training programme in a very different environment with limited facilities and considered the cultural differences that they would encounter.and they discussed the ways in which improvements in skills would be measured and monitored. The team members were supported by John Greening, our District Governor, members of the Foundation Committee and members of the project team from Elthorne-Hillingdon and Henley Bridge Rotary Clubs.
The team also received a huge amount of invaluable support and advice from Jim McWhirter, a member of Henley Bridge Rotary Club and a retired GP who has been visiting Kamuli Mission Hospital regularly since 2009 with Rotary Doctor Bank. Jim and Henley Bridge also managed a second project at the same hospital, to refurbish and extend the maternity ward and to convert an old operating theatre into a ward. This project was the culmination of a 5 year partnership between Kamuli Mission Hospital, Rotary Doctor Bank, District 1090 and the Rotary Club of Henley Bridge.
This building project and the VTT were combined in one Rotary Foundation Global Grant application. The application was submitted in September 2013 after the team members had been recruited, and it was approved in December. The project funds came from a number of sources: from clubs in the District, augmented by District Foundation funds and Rotary Foundation (in Evanston, USA) funds. The total value of the two projects was 233,725 US dollars and of this amount, $81,242 US dollars came from Evanston.
The Visits: the Challenges and the Successes
Kamuli Mission Hospital delivers approximately 2,000 babies each year. Many of the births are complicated, since normal births will be managed in maternity units elsewhere or at home.
The team members planned the training around five emergency situations: shoulder dystocia, breech birth, postpartum haemorrhage (PPH), pre-eclampsia & eclampsia and neonatal resuscitation. They took training equipment including neonatal resuscitation dolls, an adult mannequin, thermometers and stethoscopes. They provided training to over 200 tutors, students and nurses during the April visit, using the new equipment and ensuring that the tutors could use it confidently for future training. The team members developed training sheets in advance of the April visit and they also left these for the tutors to use.
The original plan had been to train the tutors first and then to support them as they provided one and two day training sessions for the staff at the hospital and students at the nursing school. However schedules changed and in the end the team trained tutors, students, hospital staff and staff from nearby hospitals and health centres, sometimes in very large classes.
On the second visit in September, the team observed that the tutors had continued to use the training equipment provided in April to train the students in the classrooms. The tutors were encouraged to spend more time on the wards supporting the students, and the team members provided short training sessions on the wards. Team members focussed on infection control and it was noted that the rate of sepsis had fallen on the wards.
While it is difficult to measure results in an environment effected by such a wide range of factors, it is hoped that the training and support given by the VTT has helped to reduce maternal and neonatal deaths in the hospital.