Kigali, Rwanda – September 7, 2020 — The International Confederation of Midwives, in partnership with the Rwanda Association of Midwives, Latter-day Saint Charities, Maternity Foundation, and Novametrics announced today the More Happy Birthdays project (2020 – 2023), dedicated to reducing preventable maternal and neonatal deaths in Rwanda.
The project will build off learnings from the 50,000 Happy Birthday project which, from 2018 to 2020, trained more than 18,500 midwives in Ethiopia, Rwanda and Tanzania to effectively manage complications during childbirth.
The overall projective objectives are to save lives in Rwanda by:
• Leveraging the demonstrated impact of the Helping Mothers Survive (HMS) and Helping Babies Survive (HBS) suite of training resources via short, repeated low-dose, high-frequency (LDHF) practice sessions.
• Implementing the Save Delivery App — a proven digital health solution that provides midwives with direct and instant access to evidence-based and up-to-date clinical guidelines (including and beyond the HMS-HBS content) on Basic Emergency Obstetric and Neonatal Care.
• Building the capacity of the Rwanda Association of Midwives (RAM) to enable the Association to independently and adequately support the continuing professional development of midwifery in Rwanda.
Background on preventable deaths in Rwanda:
Despite global reductions in maternal and newborn mortality over the past 30 years, rates remain unacceptably high in Rwanda:
•The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates around 250 women per 100,000 births and 16 newborns per 1000 births continue to die each year. This is at a time when the major causes of maternal and neonatal death are known and largely preventable.
•Postpartum haemorrhage (PPH) and eclampsia are the major causes of mortality in women and birth asphyxia, prematurity and sepsis are the major causes of newborn mortality.
•Poor quality care is responsible for 61% of newborn and 50% of maternal deaths.
•Improved quality of care and subsequent reductions in mortality helps individuals, families, and countries lift themselves out of poverty and improve a country’s productivity and development prospects.
Quotes from project staff
“This project will work toward generating sustainable change within our maternal health care system through methods proven to enable and empower midwives and other healthcare providers to save lives at birth.” – President of the Rwanda Association of Midwives, Josephine Murekezi.
“A strong Midwives’ Association will be able to provide consistent, high-quality professional development opportunities for midwives. Team-based, simulation training of students and practicing health professionals is supported by the Rwanda Ministry of Health and we are very pleased to continue this partnership which will facilitate more happy birthdays in Rwanda.” – More Happy Birthdays Project Manager and Midwifery Advisor with the International Confederation of Midwives, Dr. Florence West.
About the International Confederation of Midwives
Founded in 1922, the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) is an accredited non-governmental organization that represents midwives’ associations worldwide to achieve common goals in the care of mothers and newborns. Currently, there are 142 ICM member associations in 123 countries.
About the Rwanda Association of Midwives
The Rwandan Association of Midwives (RAM) based in Kigali, Rwanda, is a professional association supporting the midwifery profession. The vision of the Rwanda Association of Midwives (RAM) is that midwifery becomes a core and basic service in all health facilities with maternal and newborn health services and that a midwife’s care is easily accessible to all Rwandans.
The mission of RAM is to provide leadership and advocacy for midwifery and promote the socio-economic wellbeing of its member. RAM represents the ‘voice’ of the profession at the decision-making table, especially in legal, regulatory and service decision-making fora.257