Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Rwanda: Rwanda Has a Shortage of 1,000 Midwives – Minister Nsanzimana

The Minister of Health, Dr. Sabin Nsanzimana, has emphasized the pressing need for Rwanda to recruit a minimum of 1000 midwives in order to adequately address the growing demands in the maternity and gynecology sectors.

He made the remarks at the closing ceremony of the USAID Ingobyi Activity project, which has been actively operating in Rwanda since 2018.

The event, held at the Marriott Hotel on Thursday, July 13, served as a platform to acknowledge the project’s achievements including their support in reducing maternal and infant mortality.

According to the Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) 2022, Rwanda’s maternal mortality ratio is 203 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. Maternal mortality encompasses deaths occurring during pregnancy, childbirth, and within 42 days postpartum, excluding those caused by accidents or violence.

Although there has been progress in the past few decades, with the ratio previously at 1000 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births, Nsanzimana acknowledges that the current number is still high.

“Moving from 1000 to 203 deaths means we can go much lower, as these represent the lives of people,” he said.

Nsanzimana announced that the ministry’s goal is to decrease the ratio to 70 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births by 2027, within a span of four years.

He noted that the USAID Ingobyi Activity project and other projects to come should be plugging into the strategy, declaring that the availability of workforce in numbers and quality can drive the numbers quickly.

Nsanzimana mentioned that USAID Ingobyi Activity played a pivotal role in saving the lives of mothers and children, while also combating malaria, one of the traditional causes of infant mortality in Rwanda. The project was implemented in 20 districts across the country.

The minister further emphasized the importance of early detection and swift response in controlling mortality rates, stressing that primary healthcare is the most effective approach to manage and control these issues.

He said the ministry is presently focusing on reforming community health workers by strengthening their capacities and improving their package of services. This, he said, includes introducing new layers that connect them with health posts.

Samson Radeny, Chief of Party for the USAID Ingobyi Activity, stated that over the course of the past five years, they have witnessed significant changes including the reduction in maternal mortality by a halving rate and the reduction of more than 50 per cent of infant mortality in Rwanda.