Dr. Flavia teaches

The importance of clinical mentorship

Clinical mentorship is one of the ways that Save the Mothers provides support to our Mother Baby Friendly Hospitals. A senior paediatrician at Uganda’s Mulago National Referral Hospital, Dr. Flavia Namiiro (pictured above) is the facilitator behind the Save The Mothers Buikwe Perinatal Clinical Mentorship program. Summer intern Ananya Parasor interviewed Dr. Flavia about the importance of such training.

On her professional background:

“I am a practicing clinician. I have been based in the neonatal unit at Mulago National Referral Hospital for the past six years. Mulago Hospital is the largest training institute for graduate and under graduate medical students. I am actively involved in training/mentorship and supervision of medical students and management of newborns. My area of interest is the wellbeing of the preterm infant.”

On the role of communication in a multidisciplinary healthcare team and how mentorship contributes to that:

“Communication in the interdisciplinary healthcare team provides a good working environment, helps in planning and leads to good outcomes for the patients. During training, trainees are reminded of its importance.”

On the impact of this training – on the individual, the community, and the care provided within the hospital: 

“Training helps one earn continuing professional development points, get new updates in knowledge and skills, and share experiences with others. It provides an open forum to air out grievances and challenges and how to overcome them.

There is an opportunity to practice skills without the pressure of passing an exam or beating a timeline. Training is another chance to learn what we probably were not able to encounter during school. On-the-job training improves one’s competence because it is in familiar territory, and involves common patient conditions.

Training helps to assess the competency of health care workers, and builds and enhances team cohesion, which leads to better health care and improved patient outcomes.”

On why she remains motivated to continue working as a facilitator and trainer in these programs:

“Training compliments my clinical work. I practice what I teach. I get an opportunity to test what I say. I also learn from my trainees/mentees. Since I work at a tertiary facility, I learn practical aspects in various settings different from the one I work in, including urban, rural and from outside Uganda settings. I get to share with others where I think the practice may be useful.

When I am called upon to train, I feel honoured, hence I use this as a platform to share a personal experience of taking care of very small clients. I also impart knowledge/skills as I cherish the medical profession. Training refreshes my personal energy, and helps me to manage burnout. I also use it to advocate for the newborn.

Training has helped me network with like-minded people both in and out of Uganda. I have travelled widely because of training, with my writing and research skills also being enhanced.

I am a strong believer in the idea that each of us can make a difference wherever we are. It is not the brightest or the most well-read member of the health team who is important, but the one who is available and willing to serve.”



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