2020 was a year designated by the WHO for the Nurse and the Midwife. The Rwanda Nurses and Midwives Union (RNMU) is still excited and has many plans for its members concerning their year regardless of the challenges brought by COVID 19.
Since 2020 was the year for the Nurse and the Midwife, the 2020 nursing and midwifery week was meant to be a week to celebrate nurses/midwives at the local level. Communities were supposed to be brought together in appreciating the services given by the Nurse and the Midwife.
On the 5th/05/2020, it was the International Midwives Day and 12th /05/2020 was the International Nurses Day. RNMU mobilized the different Nurses and Midwives (in practice, leaders, education and students) to participate in a daily TV talk show from 5th-12/May/2020. The talk show discussions were basically about the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife, celebrating Nurses/midwives in the COVID 19 period and the Mental health status of people in this period, celebrations at work place due to COVID 19, investing in nursing and Midwifery today, Nursing during and after COVID 19 and the Themes, Midwives with Women: celebrate, demonstrate, mobilize, unite-our time is now! , Nurses: a voice to lead: Nursing the World to Health
On the two dates, the Nurses and Midwives celebrated from their workplaces and departments. Both private and government hospitals/clinics participated in recognizing the nurses and Midwives. At the teaching hospital of (CHUK), the Rwanda Nurses and Midwives Union Referral Hospital Executive Bureau donated 1000 masks to patients and their caretakers to prevent the spread of COVID 19 as way of celebrating their day, a cake for each department was also cut. Other institutions like lacroix du Sud and King Faisal Hospital also cut cake. Celebrations were followed by other nurses on Zoom video conference.
The Nurses and Midwives enjoyed their day however they have a concern and request of increasing their number in practice. As much as their profession is a call to serve the community, they need to be motivated to provide quality service through provision of more of their number and increased salary and improving of other working conditions. There is also need to include Nurses/Midwives in decision taking bodies such as a position for Nursing/midwifery in the Ministry Of Health.
For celebration, some nurses and midwives also shared their best moments in their profession such as conducting a delivery of 11 women in one night and babies being named after their midwives.
As celebration also, the Honorable Minister of Health Dr Ngamije M.Daniel, passed on a message to the Nurses and Midwives appreciating them for the big part the play in providing health to the society in general. He also praised them for being strong enough to form themselves a Union (RNMU) and a regulatory body the National Council of Nurses and Midwives (NCNM).
The president of RNMU Andre Gitembagara also promised to continue working hand in hand with other leaders and the nurses/midwives to advocate for rights and benefits of Nurses and Midwives.