Dear members of Medical Staff Association at BC Women’s Hospital,
My name is Yuting Hsu, a 4th year student completing the Bachelor of Midwifery program under the Faculty of Medicine at UBC. I am writing to express my sincere gratitude to you for making my global placements in Nepal and Uganda possible. The generosity of your support not only helped me financially, but it also enhanced my commitment to bring sustainable maternity care to low resources countries while facilitating bilateral learning.
From April 4th to May 7th, I traveled to Nepal with the UBC Midwifery Global Placement program with Cathy Ellis, our global program lead. We worked in partnership with the Midwifery Society of Nepal and upon their request, we provided consultation reports with suggestions on improving their physical facilities and model of care with the philosophy of respectful maternity care as essence. We also spent two days on all types of transportation such as plane, jeep, human powered raft, and some hiking to reach Sotang, a remote village in lower Solukumbu area located at south- east of Nepal. We brought medical supplies to donate, follow-up education workshops to the local nurse-midwives and doctors who works at the community health centre. A meeting with local health leaders was held to discuss their challenges to provide safe maternity care and how our program can provide aid in a sustainable fashion. The main struggle of this health facility is receiving medical supplies from city centres, as it is costly and difficult for transportation to the mountainous area. Secondly, for pregnant woman to travel to the facility poses great challenge due to limited method of transportation, most have to travel on foot. After Sotang, we also traveled to Baglung, a city in northern west area of Nepal, where we facilitated a two day workshop on topics chosen by the local midwives, and attended deliveries with them to have hands-on demonstration on delivery techniques that reduces laceration and avoids episiotomy.
From May 14th to June 26th, I continued my global placement in Uganda where I traveled to Hoima and Masaka to work with the local midwives in the hospital setting. There was a big contrast between Hoima and Masaka. Hoima is a less foreign-funded town and this is the first year our program visited this hospital. The labour and delivery unit at Hoima Regional Referral Hospital faces a great challenge to have enough working midwives on the ward to meet the demand of birthers. Often, we find unsupervised students providing primary care at delivery since there was no midwife to attend them. Sanitary, organization, and safe care are luxuries for this labour and delivery ward. The maternity care provided at Masaka Referral Hospital in contrast is organized, better staffed, and it was also our program’s 12th year returning. I appreciate the opportunity to work in both Hoima and Masaka because I was told the current condition and care provided in Hoima was similar to Masaka 12 years ago. With our program’s yearly return, small changes in safer maternity result in today’s fruitful improvement.
This short letter is not enough to cover all that I have experienced and learned for my three unforgettable and eye-opening months in Nepal and Uganda. Visiting the two countries have allowed me to gain an in-depth understanding on the unique challenges the local care providers face, and how they strive to overcome the obstacles with creativity, dedication, commitment, and hard work. Through teaching and learning skills with the local midwives and students, I gained more confidence, teaching experiences, and managed many emergency events during deliveries. The most important gift from this trip was the friendship we built through working towards our common goal, bringing better and safer care for the women we serve.
I want to thank you one more time for your support in my learning as a global citizen, and your contribution in sustainable maternity care development in low resourced countries.
Yuting Hsu, B. Sc.
Bachelor of Midwifery Student
The University of British Columbia, Class of 2018