On January 25th Rwanda Nurses and Midwives Union joined the rest of the world to observe the International Day for Education under the theme Recover and Revitalize Nursing Education for the COVID – 19 Generation.
On the International Day of Education, RNMU put focus on raising awareness on the quality of Nursing and Midwifery Education in the wake of COVID – 19 both during and after the pandemic globally and Rwanda in particular.
As noted by RNMU president Andre Gitembagara, the COVID – 19 pandemic has brought about unprecedented challenges, presented us with vivid lessons and reflection on the quality of nursing education needed to face the COVID – 19 pandemic and overall readiness to face pandemics that may befall us in the future.
Mr. Gitembagara further emphasizes that nurses should be equipped with skills and competencies to face health challenges that may from time to time befall our country and the world at large.
To date over 60 nurses and midwives have been infected with COVID – 19, this has presented challenges in the health service delivery. It has brought about fear amongst nurses and midwives, stress and other mental health related challenges. Nursing and Midwifery education eco system should therefore be able to equip nurses and midwives with the necessary skills and competencies to overcome and adequately face these challenges. The International Day of Education therefore offers Rwanda and RNMU in particular an opportunity to further reflect on the need for inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong opportunities for achieving gender equality and breaking the cycle of poverty that is leaving millions of children, youth and adults behind.
Nursing in Rwanda was introduced by the colonialists. At the time, they set up church founded nursing schools offering certificates in nursing. After the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi a lot of effort was directed towards improving the number, quality and competence of nursing in Rwanda hence institutions like University of Rwanda and other private higher learning institutions begun teaching nursing at a more advanced level. Today nursing as a profession has greatly improved, many of our members are degree holders, others with have acquired masters’ degrees and doctorates in different nursing related fields and later midwifery as a course was introduced. Today we have midwives with bachelor’s degrees, masters’ degrees and doctorates.
However the quality and competencies of our nurses and midwives remained a challenge due to a number of reasons. Therefore as we celebrate the International day of Education, focus should be put on adopting new innovations and technologies to solve emerging health challenges in the community.
RNMU has adopted E-Learning as one the mediums of delivering the continuous development programs during this period of the COVID – 19 pandemic. Rwanda Nurses and Midwives Union through a collaboration with World Continuing Education Alliance (Partner of the International Council of Nurses), launched a free branded online platform, mobile app, and COVID-19 resources. There is also an array of free CPD resources in Leadership, Management, Advocacy and Teamwork. Rwanda Nurses and Midwives Union will soon be creating her own CPD modules to add to the selection of courses available.
Though faced with challenges we envisage E-Learning to be an enabler to continuous delivery of CPD programs geared towards improving competencies and skills of nurses and midwives in Rwanda. It should be noted that most of the health facilities in Rwanda are not able to offer CPD trainings to the nurses and midwives, therefore RNMU has put in place measures to ensure that each one of the over 10,000 members receive CPD training at least once every year.
Most of these trainings can now be accesses online by logging in to RNMU website www.rnmu.rw.
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