Medical student secures scholarship working alongside BHRUT mentor to improve care for new mums.

New mums at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT) are set to benefit from more support during the Covid-19 pandemic, after medical student Gregory Yates won a scholarship.

Gregory spent a month completing an obstetrics and gynaecology placement at BHRUT earlier this year and felt he learned so much working alongside consultant Ziena Abdullah that he asked her to apply to work on the Rod Flower Vacation Scholarship with him.

The summer scholarship, which culminates this month, saw Ziena set a project, based on postnatal contraception, for Gregory to work on. 

She said: “Many women don’t realise that they are extremely fertile around three weeks after giving birth, which means many end up unintentionally pregnant again straight away.

“Previously, they would have a check-up with their GP two weeks after giving birth and would be given contraception, or they could visit a sexual health clinic. In the light of the pandemic, GP appointments are often difficult to come by and there can be a reduced service at clinics. So we want to use this project as an opportunity to empower women to make informed choices by giving them contraception to take home before they are discharged after giving birth.”

Over the summer, Gregory has been busy working on information leaflets, creating two which will be translated into other languages. He’s also been keeping Ziena regularly updated on his progress.

He said: “It’s a privilege to be collaborating with Ziena on this project. It’s really important work, especially in light of Covid-19.

“The quality of education that I received at BHRUT was amazing, and I am pleased to be able to give back to the Trust.”

Ziena is delighted to have his support with such an important project, as it’s something she’s wanted to introduce as soon as the impact of the pandemic became clear.

She added: “Giving women information about contraception while they are still pregnant means they are much more likely to use it. We also don’t want them to feel that they are forgotten once they’ve given birth and are discharged from hospital.

“It’s likely there will be unplanned pregnancies due to Covid-19, and given the impact this can have on our communities, we want to ensure we are providing all the support we can as early as possible.”


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