CSC Alumni Uganda

This article is to revisit a training workshop organised by the Sanyu Africa Midwives Commonwealth Association (SAMCA) on maternal neonatal child health on 17 and 18 September 2019 in Eastern Uganda. SAMCA brings together alumni in Uganda who completed Commonwealth Professional Fellowships in public health.

The Regional Referral Hospital in Eastern Uganda has consistently registered a higher maternal and perinatal mortality rate than the national average. SAMCA members held a training session on ‘Maternity Midwifery to improve maternal child health in Eastern Uganda’ for midwives, which provided the opportunity for midwives to meet and network with health centre stakeholders and discuss ways to reduce maternal and perinatal mortality, and improve midwifery practice in the region. 53 Midwives and trainees from various health centres from the eastern region were in attendance.

Key objectives of the training were to:

  • Improve the knowledge and skills of midwives and other frontline health workers in the management of complicated labours and neonatal resuscitation
  • Create an avenue to share experiences and network among midwives and other frontline health workers
  • Improve teamwork and communication among midwives and other health workers

Day one

A speaker stands to deliver a presentation on maternal neonatal child health

A speaker delivers a presentation on maternal neonatal child health

Representatives from the British Council, Laura Kanyiginya, Regional Manager for Commonwealth Scholars, East Africa, and Caroline Kiconco, delivered opening remarks and acknowledged the work of SAMCA in providing crucial training to midwives in the region and encouraged all those in attendance to use the opportunity to learn and network.

Commonwealth Alumnus, Janefrances Acam (2015 Professional Fellow, Liverpool John Moores University), lead coordinator for the event and SAMCA member, then began the formal training with a presentation on maternal deaths at Mbale Regional Referral Hospital. This was followed by an interactive presentation by Dr Mugabe Kenneth on the management of Postpartum Haemorrhage (PPH) and the management of Pre-eclamptic toxaemia (PET) /eclampsia. This was an interactive session and midwives were given useful insights into several medical reviews on key obstetric services which had been identified as having critical gaps in the management of mother and baby. Midwives were able to use this opportunity to ask questions of the two presenters and each other to learn better ways to manage these midwifery issues.

Major points discussed by attendees included:

  • The impact of poor patient care on the number of expectant mothers giving birth in their homes and not seeking medical advice
  • Late referral from lower health centres to referral hospitals
  • Wrong diagnosis
  • Referrals by midwives not being attended to
  • Drug misuse
  • Poor management of mothers in labour

In response to the areas discussed,  midwives in attendance resolved to organise another refresher training and follow-up in January 2020 to review progress and implementation of agreed action points. It was also agreed that a customer/patient service training workshop should be organised to improve this area of work and encourage expectant mothers to give birth in hospital. Attendees also agreed to perform Maternal Near Miss (MNM) reviews to ensure proper hand-over and after care, as well as organise more midwifery meetings to discuss issues and make ongoing improvements.

The training finished with closing remarks from Sr Stella Abigail Kisolo, the Deputy District Health Officer in charge of Maternal and Child Health in Mbale District, who commended the British Council and CSC for this great opportunity. She remarked, ‘The SAMCA association is a great avenue that brings midwives together and this will greatly improve the midwifery services in the district. One of the strong pointers from the discussions was strengthening the referral system and the solutions were shared regarding what is on ground within the health centers. Problems came up and solutions were shared, and I would like to encourage that such meetings are done on a monthly or quarterly basis. I also commend the way the training on Pre-Eclampsia, Eclampsia, and Severe Eclampsia was carried out and urge the midwives to share this information with their colleagues that did not attend.’

Connecting with Commonwealth Alumni

The team paid a courtesy visit to the Mbale District Health Officer and then proceeded to visit Busiu Health Center 1V where Commonwealth Alumni, Grace Nabulo (2015 Professional Fellow, Liverpool John Moores University) and Alice Gwokyalya (2016 Professional Fellow, University of Liverpool) are employed to learn more about the impact of their Professional Fellowship on their work and how they are using the knowledge and skills acquired to benefit their community.

Grace is the in-charge midwife at Busiu Health Center and the district MTC focal person. She shared how her Fellowship helped her to overcome timidity which has enabled her to handle her duties with more confidence. She also provides supervision to other colleagues and has encouraged the use partographs at the health center, a skill she attained during her Professional Fellowship. Alice and her colleague Dr Bernard Maumbe, officer in charge of the facility, reported that the number of paternal deaths at the health center had greatly reduced as a result of the skills the two alumni had attained and were passing on to fellow midwives. In the year 2018/2019, only 1 paternal death had been registered at the center as opposed to over 10 paternal deaths that they previously recorded.

You can view photos from the event on CSC Flickr.

If you are a Commonwealth Alumnus and would like to find out more about CSC events and activities taking in Uganda, please contact