Every expectant mother deserves to hold her child after birth. The government plans to reduce on maternal mortality rate by three quarters.
Maternal Mortality rate in Rwanda dropped from 750 to 383 per 100,000 live births according to the 2010 Health Management Information System.
Dr. Jean Nyirinkwaya, the CEO of Hospital La Croix Du Sud (‘Southern Cross’ Hospital) has 28-years of experience as an Obstetrician and Gynecologist. He says the policies will help promote safe motherhood in Rwanda.
“Expectant mothers are able to get antenatal checkups at health centres with the use of medical insurance, thus costs are minimal,” Dr Nyirinkwaya expresses.
He further adds that, with this kind of support each woman, including those with low or no income, are able to go to health centres for examination.
“When pregnant women go for prenatal checkups, any complication can be detected at an early stage, thus find ways of managing it. Therefore, mothers should be encouraged to go through at least four antenatal care checkups. With this, the maternal mortality rate will be reduced,” he discloses.
In most cases, if the risks are detected during the early stages of pregnancy, the mother and the unborn child can be saved at birth.
According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Rwanda report on ‘Maternal Mortality Reduction Programme in Rwanda,’ mothers delivering in health facilities increased from 45 percent in 2007/8 to 69 percent in 2010, thus the mortality rate have reduced.
Although such an improvement is evident, some factors continue to limit Rwanda’s commitment to achieve its Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 5 target.
Some of these factors include the high percentage of births that take place without skilled medical assistance. According to the Rwanda Basic Health Indicator of 2008, there were 62.8 percent nurses in the rural areas and 38.2 percent nurses in urban areas.
According to Josephine Murekezi, Chairperson of the Rwanda Midwives Association, Community Health Workers (CHWs) get training sessions from the midwifery schools and associations.
“We sensitise them on how to handle pregnant women and how they should convince them to go for checkups at health centres. The training given to CHWs is very helpful,” Murekezi explains.
She adds that the Midwives Association also constantly educates the midwifery fraternity on ways of promoting safe motherhood since it is in line with their work.
Given the terrain of our country, the Rapid SMS programme, in different parts of the country, greatly promotes safe motherhood. The phones that CHWs received have, in several ways, saved pregnant women from the risk of losing their lives and those of their babies. The Rapid SMS programme works in such a way that CHWs are sent texts about the procedures to observe when a woman in a village goes into labour and they, in turn, use the skills to make delivery safe.