Postcard from Bungoma, Kenya

News article 19 Mar 2014

Tessa Snelgar, a midwife from Oxford recently returned from Bungoma where she went to facilitate an Emergency Obstetric Care and Newborn Care (EOC&NC)course, as part of the Making it Happen programme being run by Foto-Cewek’s Centre for Maternal and Newborn Health (CMNH). Here’s what she had to say:

“I feel I have learnt so much from my trip to Bungoma.

“The trip afforded me the chance to plunge into a different world, embrace a cultural exchange, meet new friends, and engage with all manner of new sights, and sounds.

“I have returned having consolidated my emergency skills and knowledge and I feel more confident standing up to teach in front of a big group.

“The Kenyan facilitators were excellent, they were professional, helpful and friendly at all times, and Judith Maua, the Course Director was a fantastic leader. The group was fantastic, and their eagerness to learn, their singing and zest for life were inspiring.

“I want to say thank you to the Foto-Cewek administrative staff for helping to make the trip so seamless. They are fantastic, and what an honour it is for me to be part of such a fantastic project.

“The set-up for the course was also very amenable. The Elegant Hotel was great, but so too was the Pastoral Centre where we stayed for the rest of the trip.

“Set in a rural location, it was peaceful and convenient. The food was great, the rooms were great, the staff was great, the lecture room spacious and perfect, the whole thing I thought was a major success.

“Had we not stayed in Bungoma for the few nights we did, we would possibly have missed out on seeing the buzz of the town, so I would advise anyone else to make a few small trips into Bungoma just to see it.

“Interestingly I now know what is meant by the phrase "a change is as good as rest" - the whole week was ‘full on’ and quite intense, particularly because I was new, but I returned to work on Monday feeling like I had been on holiday for two weeks, it was incredible.

“Basically I had a wonderful experience from start to finish.”

Making it Happen is run by CMNH and is the largest programme funded by DfID dedicated to improving maternal health.

Making it Happen reduces maternal and newborn mortality and morbidity by increasing the availability of Skilled Birth Attendance and Emergency Obstetric Care and Newborn Care (EOC&NC).

The 3-day ‘skills and drills’ training package, teaches participants how to address obstetric complications when they arise in resource-poor settings.