Improving family planning provision in south-west Uganda

July 20, 2018


Women in the communities around Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in south-west Uganda have, on average, eight children. This is two more than they report they would ideally like to have. Network coordinator, the Margaret Pyke Trust, is working to support the local hospital, Bwindi Community Hospital, to address this through the delivery of its USHAPE training programme.

USHAPE (Uganda Sexual Health and Public Education) is a family planning training methodology which has been developed by the Margaret Pyke Trust, and a collective of clinicians in Uganda and the UK. At Bwindi Community Hospital, USHAPE is being implemented by a family planning training nurse funded by the Trust.

The training is being delivered at three different levels. The first level provides basic family planning information to all staff, regardless of their roles. Everyone at a healthcare facility should understand the fundamental importance of family planning, why family and community health are dependent on its provision, and why it is important to the hospital as a whole. Both clinical and non-clinical staff benefit from this training, as everyone has a role to play in ensuring family planning is available to all who seek it. For instance, a security guard might not realise why a young person is loitering by the gates, too nervous to enter, they should be welcoming. Similarly, a finance manager might not realise that investing in family planning services has life-saving and cost-saving benefits in the long-run, so they might not prioritise family planning in their work without knowing this.

The second level is delivered through skills training provided to healthcare workers, which combines theory-based and practical lessons on a range of topics, including reproductive anatomy and physiology, condoms, IUDs, contraceptive implants and injections, and oral contraceptives, in addition to cervical screening techniques, STIs, and counselling.

The third level, “train the trainers”, ensures the hospital has a large enough cohort of trainers to ensure training is embedded, and staff are monitored and supported to ensure the delivery of comprehensive family planning services.

Alongside this, the family planning training nurse is also conducting outreach in the remote and rural areas surrounding the hospital, to increase awareness of the importance of family planning and to provide information about how individuals can access services.

Kathryn Lloyd, the Trust’s Programmes & Operations Manager explained, “We are delighted the Trust is able to support Bwindi Community Hospital to fully embed USHAPE over the next three years. In the coming months I will be at Bwindi Community Hospital, working with them and others to expand this model with neighbouring hospitals. It’s an exciting time in the history of USHAPE”.