Nurses and midwives in Rwanda have launched the Care Connect App, a platform aimed at offering part-time employment opportunities, enabling them to provide home and hospital care as a profession in order to supplement their income. Traditionally, home and hospital care in Rwanda have relied on the assistance of family members or friends acting as caregivers for patients. A caregiver assumes the responsibility of looking after someone, who has a disability, illness, or those very young. ALSO READ: 200 home-based healthcare givers graduate There are approximately 15,000 nurses and midwives in the country, but only 10,000 are registered union members. The Rwanda Workers' Trade Union Confederation and Rwanda Nurses and Midwives Union have been advocating for salary increases for nurses, as they currently receive monthly salaries ranging from Rwf120,000 to Rwf200,000, which they consider insufficient. Gerard Rurangwa, the Secretary General of the Rwanda Nurses and Midwives Union (RNMU), explained that in addition to their clinical duties, nurses and midwives have the potential to offer home and hospital care as a professional service, providing them with an opportunity to boost their income and address their concerns about low salaries. We have established a partnership with Care Connect firm to create a registry of nurses interested in pursuing home and hospital care as a profession. Individuals with patients in need of care at home or in hospitals can hire a nurse as a caregiver and compensate them, he said. ALSO READ: Nurses, midwives demand salary raise Over 200 nurses are already listed and ready to work as caregivers, according to Rurangwa, who envisions this initiative as a way for union members to secure part-time employment and increase their income, mirroring a service that has thrived in Europe, the USA, and other nations, and one that he believes should be introduced in Rwanda. Janet Abatesi, the CEO of CareConnect, the platform connecting caregivers with patients, emphasized the necessity of training nurses to become professional caregivers, enhancing home and hospital care service delivery. We have seen a growing demand for home and hospital care due to people's increasingly busy lifestyles. Professional caregivers are now in demand, and nurses can seize this part-time opportunity to supplement their income, she noted. Govt plans to increase Nursing Workforce The Ministry of Health is taking proactive steps to quadruple the healthcare workforce within the next four years to address the shortage of nurses and midwives throughout the country. Currently, one skilled professional serves 1,000 individuals, whereas at least five professionals are needed per 1,000 people. Theophile Dushime, Chief Technical Advisor at the Ministry of Health, recently informed The New Times that this target will be achieved by increasing the annual graduation of students in medicine, nursing, and midwifery programs from 2,000 to 8,000. As the number of nurses and midwives in Rwanda is set to surge, individuals in need of professional home and hospital care will find it more accessible. ALSO READ: Over 700 Covid-19 patients admitted for home-based care We hope that once Rwandans recognize the value of professional home and hospital care, nurses and midwives can secure part-time employment and augment their income. We are already witnessing demand because relatives or friends might have other commitments that prevent them from providing care to their patients, Elie Byukusenge, a nurse at Rwamagana Hospital said.