The core activity of the USHAPE project that Claire and I are working on is family planning training. There are two levels to the training. Level one is designed to give all hospital staff a basic overview to contraception, the importance of family planning etc. It is run over 5 days with an hour long session each day. The idea is to have a whole institution approach to family planning. We are lucky that contraception is free at BCH so the cost isn’t a barrier for patients. Family planning screening questions were added to the admission forms and to the outpatient computer system relatively recently. This means that everyone who comes to the hospital should be asked about family planning (Do you want a child in the next two years? Are you currently using family planning?) and given advice then referred to the family planning nurse if needed. At the moment there are some problems with the outpatients computer system so they are not able to screen many patients but there have been good results with the inpatients. There is a ‘family planning screening champion’ nurse on each ward who is responsible for collecting the data each month and for encouraging all others to continue screening.
The level two course is a 6 day course, including a practical day. It covers all the different methods of contraception, counselling skills, group presention skills, STIs, cervical screening etc. It is designed to be interactive, with the students participating through case studies, presentations, group discussions, as well as some short lectures. Two weeks ago we delivered a level two course for students on the extension nursing courses. These are nurses who have already worked for two years and are increasing their qualification to a diploma so most of them already had plenty of practical experience of family planning. I just taught the first two days with Sarah, the family planning nurse and Elliot, an American O+G trainee and Ephraim, a nurse who had previously completed level two training, as Claire and I had to take it in turns to cover the ward. It was a really enjoyable two days. The nursing school is really well equipped, each classroom has an interactive white board and the students all have iPads to download material before a session. We had a bit of a false start with none of the students turning up on the first day (miscommunication!) but had 21 students in total over the next five days. We are hoping to run another level two course later in the year for hospital staff. There was one last year but some people missed it and there’s quite a high turnover of staff. I’m hoping to go to Kisizii hospital next month to help run a level two course with Emily, a GP who was volunteering there earlier in the year (and who I was supposed to be going to Sierra Leone with last year – small world!) which should be fun and interesting to see how another Church of Uganda hospital is run.