On the back of a previously successful USHAPE training week, April saw a cohort of sixteen new clinical staff attend Rugarama Hospital’s second level two course. This time, the course was run in a slightly different format; taking place in the afternoons over two weeks to allow normal clinical duties in the morning. An engaged and enthusiastic group of health care workers including midwives, nurses and nursing assistants attended the training going on to pass the post course test and become trained providers of family planning and reproductive health care.


All participants were particularly keen to apply their learning and develop their practical skills including in cervical cancer screening and the insertion of sub-dermal implants and intra-uterine contraceptives. Given the popularity of previously held cervical screening ‘camps’ held at the hospital, medical officer Dr Stuart Turanzomwe suggested organising a combined cervical screening and family planning camp which would both address needs of the local community while providing a fantastic opportunity for newly trained USHAPE participants to learn and practice their skills.


The hospital management generously facilitated the organisation of this camp; where services were provided free of charge over a five-day period. On the 8th May, the camp began and over the course of the week a total of 187 patients were seen; a number exceeding expectations. During this time, twelve USHAPE participants attended during specific training slots, allowing them to gain confidence under the supervision of USHAPE trainers Dr Rosie, Dr Berkin and Rugarama midwife Orishaba Fortunate. A great level of commitment and interest was shown throughout the week that saw five staff members completing sufficient supervised procedures to gain a letter of competence in implant insertion and four others due to complete competency in the coming month. Fantastic work!


The next step for USHAPE at Rugarama will be the extension of training to the nursing school. On 5th June Dr Rosie, Dr Berkin and Uwimbabazi Sarah; a USHAPE trainer from Bwindi Community Hospital, will begin with level one training for all nursing school staff and students. Principal Kenneth Bigabwa has been extremely supportive of plans for introducing USHAPE at the school and two nursing school tutors, Twine Cephas and Owomugisha Mackline have already attended USHAPE training, with a view to leading subsequent courses for student nurses in the future.


Following this, a further level two training course, with a pilot group of 25 second year nursing students will take place over a five day period from 6th-10th June. These nursing students will then be able to continue their training during clinical placements at the hospital and be able to obtain letters of competence in sub-dermal implant and intra-uterine device insertion when qualified.


We hope that the nursing students will enjoy their week of interactive training and USHAPE can be extended to all tutor groups over the coming months!


With special thanks to the UK Royal College of General Practitioners for supporting USHAPE and to UKAID and THET for providing funding.