In March 2017 a week-long interactive training course was successfully completed by members of staff from Rugarama Hospital. Fourteen highly enthusiastic members of staff from a range of departments in the hospital attended the course to become qualified family planning providers as part of the USHAPE (Ugandan Sexual Health and Pastoral Education) programme.
This followed a shorter introduction ‘Level 1’ course a few weeks earlier, where more than forty clinical and non-clinical staff members from the hospital engaged in lively discussion and training to become certified Family Planning Advocates.
Two UK doctors, Dr. Rosie Briggs and Dr. Berkin Hack, who are volunteering full-time at Rugarama until June 2017, led the training as part of the USHAPE (Ugandan Sexual Health and Pastoral Education) programme. Dr. Marian Davis and Dr. Ceri Gallivan, volunteers working with USHAPE at Bwindi Community Hospital, joined them for the training.
The U-SHAPE project was started at Bwindi Community Hospital in 2013. A UK GP volunteer had noticed large numbers of teenage pregnancies, grand multi-parity and inadequate spacing of pregnancies present major health problems for the population in South West Uganda. The aim of USHAPE is to raise awareness about the current unmet need for family planning and to provide education and training for healthcare workers in order to improve uptake of family planning. Ultimately, this aims to empower female and male clients to have greater control over when to start a family, how to space pregnancies and stopping childbearing when their family is complete.
Through completing USHAPE training, participants have successfully acquired the skills to counsel patients effectively and through practical training, deliver family planning services. They will go on to gain confidence and put their skills into practice during a week-long ‘camp’ at Rugarama Hospital offering free family planning and cervical screening services between 8th-12th March 2017.
With such engaged and motivated staff, no doubt USHAPE will go from strength to strength at Rugarama in the future.
With special thanks to the UK Royal College of General Practitioners for supporting USHAPE and to UKAID and THET for providing funding.