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Uganda Upgrading eLearning Midwives project equips nurses with skills to lower maternal and newborn mortality in Uganda

Her presence in the maternity ward is always noticed. She is one of the most appreciated midwives in Kabale Regional Referral Hospital in Uganda. At 32, Assumpta Namugumya has created a name for herself in her passionate care of patients, especially mothers and children in the hospital. “I am at peace when I see Assumpta, because I know that she will do whatever she can to treat a patient,” explains Jovita Asingwire, a supervisor in the health facility.
“I graduated with a Certificate in Midwifery back in 2009, and started working immediately,” Assumpta narrates. But back then, I did not have much needed skills to help mothers and children. It made me sad every time I got a case I could not treat,” she adds.
After recording many referrals due to lack of knowledge and skill, Assumpta decided to further her studies. “I really wanted to go back to school, but I did not have money. I did not even know how I could fundraise and get the needed school fees,” she narrates.
Feeling disillusioned, Assumpta continued working hard and serving the mothers and children who came to the facility as best as she could. But she did not give up; she was patient. Four years later, still determined to go back to school, Assumpta heard of a nursing scholarship offered by Amref Health Africa to train nurses in ‘enrolled’ status to diploma level through the Uganda Upgrading eLearning Midwives project. She confided in the Principal Nursing Officer in the health facility, who encouraged her to apply for the programme.
She was notified of her acceptance into the programme a few after applying. “When I was told I had been accepted, I was excited. I was, however, curious on the teaching methodology. They told me that I would not have to attend classes every day,” she remembers. Assumpta did not have to worry about leaving her patients as through the eLearning programme, she would be able to study and work at the same time.
The Uganda Upgrading eLearning Midwives project is a public-private partnership between Amref Health Africa, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Education and Sports, the Uganda Nurses and Midwives Council, Uganda Nurses and Midwives Examination Board and collaborating training institutions that is funded by GlaxoSmithKline. The project was conceived after successful implementation of a similar project in Kenya.
Through the programme, Assumpta was able to attend classes for six weeks and then go on self-study. Through dedication and hard work, Assumpta graduated during the 8th graduation ceremony of Mulago School of Nursing and Midwifery, alongside 14 other eLearning students. “My confidence level in dealing with complicated health conditions in maternal and child health grew immediately I enrolled for the eLearning programme. I have become more efficient, more diligent and more passionate about my job since,” explains the proud registered midwife. Assumpta is grateful to Amref Health Africa for the opportunity to further her studies and the knowledge to take care of her patients better.
The Uganda Upgrading eLearning Midwives project is part of Amref Health Africa’s strategy to address the Human Resources for Health (HRH) crisis as a means to contribute to better health in Africa. The eLearning project allows nurses and midwives to study at their own pace with minimal disruption to their work schedules, taking into consideration the practical oriented nature of nursing education.
Caroline Ariba – Amref Health Africa in Uganda

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