Return to Kathmandu

16 May

We arrived back in town late last night after an eleven hour drive back from Nawal Parasi. The high winding road with mountains leaving us dwarfed on the road had been very busy with some very slow patches and several times when ambulances had to be let through the throng to get to people or get them to hospital. I was pleased to read online later that today has seen the launch of an initiative by Princes William, Harry and Princess Catherine: ‘Heads together’ which is a charity that encourages physical activity for mental wellbeing.–abc-news-wellness.html#

The third round of maternal mental health workshops went very well. We were inspired by the collective midwifery skills of the auxilliary nurse-midwives (ANMs) in the room. They were eager to add to their knowledge and had clearly learned from the first two workshops. The experience was made even better for us by the kind hospitality of the staff of the Lotus Resort who were always there for a chat, sharing a story or a song and of course looking after our needs with tasty food and drinks and when the electricity went off,  needing the generator to be started. I felt humbled by how kind everyone was to us and to each other. They were all motivated and engaged and were generous in sharing knowledge we ourselves needed to understand their circumstances. As a team, Andrea Lawrie (Aberdeen Maternity Hospital & RGU), David Havelock (Tees, Esk & Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust) and I have enjoyed working together and are very grateful to Sampada Ghimirie, a recent graduate (Public Health) of Pokhara University who translated EVERY presentation and activity over the three days. We wish her luck in her first post graduation job interview on Wednesday. Laxmi Basnet from Green Tara Nepal was also a great support to us.

Mental health has not been given priority in the region (much as in the UK), a point made by the District Health Officer and Chief Public Health Nurse who took the opportunity to visit for at least part of the workshops.This was a new DHO and he wanted to get to know the staff and hear their concerns. The nurse-midwives took the opportunity to ask for his help in resolving a pay anomaly. They have not been paid their ‘night allowance’ for the past year. Male nurses (doing equivalent work) have taken a grievance and they have received back pay and restoration of their special duty payments. The ANMs explain that as they are women, their voice is not being heard. They are calm, coherent and assertive – good to see.

We will spend the next few days in sharing both our own recent experience and the findings of a review of the nursing & midwifery curricula regarding maternal mental health completed by : Bibha Simkhada, Edwin van Teijlingen, Padam Simkhada, Jillian Ireland, Bhimsen Devkota, Lokendra Sherchan, Ram Chandra Silwal, Shyam K. Maharjan, Ram K. Maharjan, Geeta Sharma, Samridhi Pradham for THET and from Tribhuvan University, Nepal; Liverpool John Moores University, Bournemouth University and Green Tara Nepal.




2 Responses to “Return to Kathmandu”

  1. Ish in Nepal May 19, 2016 at 8:20 am #

    Delighted all going well. I have enjoyed reading all about your trip.

    • jillymidwife May 19, 2016 at 1:05 pm #

      Thank you Ish. Laxmie is very happy with the gift you sent for her and says thank you. Did you manage to visit Lumbini and Chitwan National Park or maybe Pokhara during your visit?
      I really liked the atmosphere at the Karunamathi Birthing Centre with only the birthing bed spoiling it. The place is so clean, they could use mats on the floor (like at home). What a lovely group of women they are. I asked them to feedback what they had learned from the people who taught them the hokey cokey and they had a wee giggle! Their feedback will be shared so you’ll see it. They didn’t run out of different things to share and they were really grateful to you. They do have a lot of embodied knowledge (just hasn’t been given structure and form). Yours Jilly

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