“Well-trained and supported midwives working in communities are uniquely positioned to provide the compassionate, respectful and culturally sensitive care a woman needs during pregnancy and childbirth. Midwifery is equally important for newborns during the first month of life, and is a significant contribution to sexual and reproductive health in general,” Jozef Maeriën, UNFPA Representative said during the celebration of International Midwifery Day
The role of midwifery in reducing maternal and neonatal mortality in Rwanda has been crucial during the past decade. As per the recent data the neonatal mortality rate stands at 20/1000 Live births and the maternal mortality ratio has dropped from 487 per 100,000 live births (2010) to 210 /100,000 live births (2015).
UNFPA supports the Rwanda Association of Midwives to bring midwives together in order to combine efforts to address challenges which are still facing midwifery through advocacy. Maeriën called for joint efforts to invest in midwifery as a way of reducing maternal and newborn deaths.
“Significant investments in midwifery are essential if the world is to achieve its ambitious goals of reducing maternal and newborn deaths. These critical health-care providers can help millions of women to give birth safely each year, but much more needs to be done.” He said
Josephine Murekezi, the President of Rwanda Midwifery Association called on the Ministry of Health to increase the number of midwives in the country and advocated for increased salaries.
“We need to invest more in midwifery to reduce maternal mortality. There’s a gap of midwives in health centers and district hospitals compared to the demand ,” said Murekezi during the celebration of the International Day of the Midwife
The International Day of the Midwife celebration took place on May 5, 2016 with a theme “Women and Newborns: The Heart of Midwifery”