As Rwanda joined the rest of the world to mark the International Nurses and Midwives Day on the 12 May 2016, RNMU president André Gitembagara maintained that the Union will always work toward professional development in collaboration with the key partner, the Ministry of Health, while hailing notable progress in nursing profession.
In a press conference on the day, RNMU president said that there are still challenges, but there has been an enormous progress to be contented with.
Currently there are 12,000 registered nurses and midwives to only 400 that existed in 1995, among them 8,000 are in practice.
He said that though this tremendous achievement, there are still challenges.
“Ordinarily, each woman in a health facility needs at least two birth attendants and that would be generally 2 nurses and or 2 midwives. But the figures suggest that this demand only calls for improvement,” he said.
He stressed that there is a gap of midwives and nurses that currently stands at 40 per cent in health centers and 20 per cent in district hospitals of the recommended workforce.
Gitembagara also highlighted a challenge of nonexistent horizontal grade promotion for nurses and midwives unlike other public servants.
He also said there is a challenge in education progress for nurses and midwives.
While a majority serve as low grade or enrolled nurses, the Ministry of Health requires all nurses and midwives to upgrade their levels of education from enrolled nurses (A2) to (A1).
Education progress for nurses and midwives has suffered a setback recently as e-learning program was suspended while it helped them to farther their education.
Gitembagara averred that there is a hope of change from the discussions with the ministry which is working to address the issues for a better service delivery to Rwandans.
“We have had consultations with the Ministry of Health, and there is a hope,” he said.
Also, he noted that relative poor working conditions for nursing and midwifery professions are discouraging others who want to become midwives or nurses.
“Some who are already enrolled are even running away from the profession, joining the business sector because they feel it is more profitable,” he explained.