Lilliane Ingabire is a midwife and mother of two and has been in the midwifery profession for the last 13 years.
In 2004, she attained a Masters Degree in Maternal and Child Health Nursing from the University of KwaZulu Natal in South Africa.
After her first degree in midwifery she worked in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for two years. She worked with Kigali Health Institute (KHI) for seven years before moving to King Faisal Hospital in 2008.
Below are excerpts from her interview with The New Times.
QN: What inspired you to become a Midwife?
I am always interested in helping and taking care of people in need. My dream was to become a medical doctor so I offered Biochemistry while in Secondary School. I had to prepare myself for University.
I joined the faculty of Medicine but when I finished my second year, I decided to move to a Nursing College to become a midwife. I wanted to do something to help people in need especially mothers and babies. I like the profession and I do not regret being a midwife today.
QN: What is your view on Traditional birth attendants?
Traditional birth attendants provide the majority of primary maternity care and they work within the community.
They provide health education, support and advice during and after pregnancy, childbirth, based primarily on experience and knowledge acquired informally through the traditions and practices of the communities where they originated.
They usually work in rural and other medically underserved areas. Although they do not receive formal education and training in health care provision, they are self-taught.
In many communities, one of the criteria for being accepted as a Traditional birth attendant by clients is having the experience of motherhood. Many traditional birth attendants are also herbalists, or traditional healers.
They are useful to the community and serve as a bridge between the community and the formal health system and may also accompany women to health facilities for delivery.
QN: What are some of your successes in Midwifery?
As a midwife, I have contributed in building the midwifery profession in Rwanda. I contributed in curriculum development for the midwifery programme and in the midwifery education.
I supervise midwifery students and newly qualified midwives in clinical areas.
QN: What challenges do you face in your profession?
Midwifery is very emotionally demanding and we are still few in number compared to the needs and the workload we have. Midwifery is far more than just delivering babies.
QN: What has been your happiest moment as a midwife?
My happiest moment was in 1998 when I assisted a mother to normally deliver twins in 45 minutes without any complications.
QN: What has been your saddest moment?
My saddest moment was in 2003, when a pregnant mother died in my hands an hour after being admitted due to severe preeclampsia (a pregnancy condition in which high blood pressure and protein in the urine develop after the 20th week of pregnancy).
QN: Name cases of stigma in the profession.
Yes midwives are stigmatized and it depends on the environment where they are working. The workload; midwives are always taking care of at least two peoples at a go. The attitude of the customers is another issue.
QN: What advice can you give to the youth who want to join the profession?
The first thing is to love the profession and feel that you are ready to serve the nation. Midwifery as a profession is emotionally demanding. You have to be confident and strong when it comes to handling stressful situations.
Excellent listening and counseling skills, an empathic and warm conduct is necessary. People who want to become midwives have to be comfortable in providing advice and education since it is important to the community of new mothers.
A midwife needs to be well spoken because they always have to interact with doctors, GP, mothers and several people.
Those that are in the profession should have a caring personality that is achieved by providing unconditional advice and care to patients.
There is no shortage of jobs for aspiring midwives. The world and Rwanda need more midwives now than ever.
Expecting mothers must be free to talk about their fears. They should always consult the Doctor or Midwife as much as they want.