Update from Joy Kemp: Bangladesh

By Joy Kemp on 09 October 2017 Bangladesh Twinning projects Global midwifery

The Royal College of Midwives and the Bangladesh Midwifery Society started a new twinning partnership in June 2017. Initially for one year, this may extend for a further three years if successful. This is part of a larger midwifery strengthening project in Bangladesh, funded by UK-Aid and UNFPA.

Activities for the first year include setting up the twinning partnership, undertaking an organisational assessment using the MACAT tool, identifying and engaging stakeholders, visiting all eight branches (divisions) around the country, developing a new membership database, employing a staff member as executive assistant, writing a newsletter, developing capacity in advocacy, making some improvements to the office, holding an AGM and conducting elections for the executive committee. A busy year!

Having conducted a scoping visit in October 2016, I arrived in Bangladesh on Sunday for my second visit this year. Additionally, our consultant Tamara Curtis visited in August. So far we are making good progress: the partnership is taking shape; the MACAT and Stakeholder Analyses have been achieved; job descriptions have been developed; interviews will take place on Friday and office improvements are underway.

Today we made plans for the AGM and the election, for visiting three divisions later this week, for writing our newsletter and visiting key stakeholders. We hope to hold a closing event on Saturday to share our achievements with the midwifery community.

I'm pleased to be accompanied on this trip by Welsh midwife Terry Kana, an RCM member who sits on our Global Advisory Group and is a Senior Research Associate at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. Terry is very familiar with Bangladesh, having conducted many training courses here and having previously collected data for her PhD from all over the country. It's great to be with someone who is really knows the place and understands the culture. She's also a phenomenal facilitator and I'm learning so much from her.

I am on the Academic Programme Board for the RCM-accredited Diploma in Sexual and Reproductive Health at Liverpool, so this has been a great opportunity for us to deepen the relationship between our two organisations. By the way - it's a great course, why not consider it?

We're here until Sunday 15th and both have a busy few weeks when we return so we're trying to pace ourselves, take time and space to reflect and to explore the city as well as work, work, work. So far we've been significantly underwhelmed by Asia's largest mall (Jamuna Future Park), eaten some nice food (I can recommend dahl for breakfast) and negotiated Ubers and CNGs (tuk tuks).

Looking forward to dinner with resident friends later this week and spending more time with these lovely Bangladeshi midwives who are working so hard to bring high-quality midwifery to women and newborns in Bangladesh. Viva La Twinning :)