Despite the progress that has been made in increasing the number of midwives in the country’s health centres, the workforce needed is yet to be achieved.
This was revealed by the National Director of Nursing and Midwifery, Mary Murebwayire.
“Rwanda has achieved a lot in reducing maternal mortality rate, partly because of increasing the number of midwives in our health centres...however, the midwives we have today are still insufficient to serve all health centres,” she said emphasising that these are mostly needed in rural areas.
She noted that about 3,000 midwives are required today while last year’s figures indicated that there are between 400 and 500 midwives across the country.
Murebwayire blames the insufficiency of the workforce to the fact that the midwifery course was only introduced in Rwanda in 1997.
The pioneer students graduated in 2000, and the number has slowly been increasing.
Murebwayire added that scarcity of the necessary infrastructures like, equipment in midwifery schools, and limited number of experienced lecturers to boost the number of students who graduate annually.
She said: “We still have a small budget, which leaves us with minimal equipment and few teachers needed to increase the number of our annual graduates.”
Mothers interviewed by The New Times, noted the value that the value of midwives cannot be underestimated.
“Sometime back, one could give birth in the hospital’s compounds with no one to attend to them; today, even public hospitals attend to their patients desirably,” Naila Basa Mukamurenzi, a city trader, and mother of four said.
Women at the grassroots have also been trained as birth attendants to attend to expectant women, within their communities.
Rwanda’s target of having a zero percent maternal mortality will be achieved once more nurses and midwives are employed in the health sector, Murebwayire noted.