Rwanda is still suffering from limited numbers of midwives as the country joined the world to celebrate the International Day.
Rwanda currently has over 2,000 midwives and targets to raise the number to 4000 by 2024, according to the Rwanda Ministry of Health.
The ratio stands at one midwife per 2,504 pregnant women in Rwanda according to information from Rwanda's Ministry of Health. Yet the World Health Organisation suggests that there should be 1,000 mothers per midwife.
In a phone interview, the President of Rwanda Midwives Association Ms Josephine Murekezi said, there is still a long way to go to be able to provide quality services to pregnant mothers in all hospitals and health centres in the country.
Ms Murekezi said though there has been a success in raising the number of midwives over the years, to 2,142 from five in 1995, challenges still persist. Ms Murekezi, who has worked as a midwife for over 25 years, said there is a lot to be dwelt on but more importantly limited number of midwives in remote health centres in the county hinders quality services to the mothers.
She decried the acute shortage of midwives but with the increase in health centres. It would serve the great purpose if the increase in health facilities, increases with the human resources in the same field.
What is more challenging Ms Murekezi said they have only one midwife in every health centre and this means that he or she is required to work twenty-four hours, which is impossible because everyone needs to rest. "We are supposed to have four midwives so that if one is on day duty, another one comes in on night duty.
While one is taking her day off, there should be a replacement just in case,” she says. She further said that some mothers also complicate the work of midwives because many are still going for antenatal care when they are already five, seven and even eight months pregnant, which is very late, hence making it difficult if the mother bared a deformed foetus,” she said.
She emphasised the importance of pre-conception care where couples are taken through, among other things, the importance of the man having a good diet.