Network News: First Margaret Pyke Volunteer provides family planning training in rural UgandaDecember 21, 2016
In November, Dr. Sue Mann provided contraceptive training in Uganda, becoming the first “Margaret Pyke Volunteer” in a new programme continuing the legacy of a family planning pioneer.
The Margaret Pyke Trust has been a leader in contraception and sexual health for nearly 50 years. Named after Margaret Pyke, a family planning pioneer, the Trust is the UK’s leading provider of contraception training for doctors and nurses. Building on this success, the Trust launched a volunteering programme which places doctors and nurses at sites identified by Population & Sustainability Network members and at the Trust’s own African project sites with significant need for sexual and reproductive health training.
Dr Sue Mann, a Consultant in Public Health and sexual and reproductive health, travelled to Bwindi in south-west Uganda to provide contraception training to healthcare workers and to assist at a mobile health clinic in an isolated village near Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. At 5.8, Uganda’s fertility rate is one of the highest in the world, as Ugandan women, on average, give birth to nearly two children more than they want, and rural women are twice as likely to encounter barriers to family planning than their urban counterparts.
The growing local population also increases pressure on the local environment, and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is home to numerous wildlife species, including endangered gorillas and chimpanzees.
Population & Sustainability Network member, Conservation through Public Health (CTPH), has been working around the national park for over 10 years and Dr Mann accompanied CTPH staff and healthcare workers at a mobile health clinic, a three hour hike through the forest. The mobile clinic was funded by another Population & Sustainability Network member, CHASE Africa, and provided basic healthcare and family planning services, the first time all three Population & Sustainability Network members had collaborated on a single project.
Dr. Sue Mann spent her final week in Uganda providing training to nursing staff at Bwindi Community Hospital. The training is part of a pioneering programme called USHAPE, which strengthens sexual and reproductive health services in rural Ugandan hospitals.
David Johnson, Chief Executive of the Margaret Pyke Trust said, “We’re delighted that Dr. Sue Mann’s visit to Uganda was such a success and hope more clinicians will volunteer their time to help improve family planning services overseas, as there are an estimated 225 million women in developing countries who would like to delay or prevent childbearing but are not using an effective method of contraception. These women are the focus of the Margaret Pyke Volunteer programme.”