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More Happy Birthdays project to improve quality of maternal, new-born healthcare

The International Confederation of Midwives (ICM), in partnership with the Rwanda Ministry of Health, Rwanda Association of Midwives, Maternity Foundation and supported by Latter-day Saint Charities, have launched a project ‘More Happy Birthdays’ aiming to improve the quality of maternal and new-born health care by strengthening midwives’ competencies with the use of the Helping Mothers Survive (HMS) and Helping Babies Survive (HBS) training modules which will be enhanced with the integration of the Safe Delivery App, a successful mobile device teaching and learning tool.  

The More Happy Birth day virtual launch took place online on Tuesday September, 7, 2021, bringing together various RAM partners including ICM Chief Executive, Dr. Sally Pairman, ICM Midwife Advisors Dr Florence West, ICM Project Coordinator for More Happy Birth day Martha Bokosi, Rwanda Ministry of Health & Rwanda Biomedical Center ( RBC) representative , Dr Bikorimana Ferdinarnd ,  Latter Day Saints Charities Representative, Maternity Foundation representative ,  American Academy of Paediatrics representative Dr Micheal Visick , Distinguished NGO Partners ,Hospital Director Generals, Higher Teaching Institutions representatives, Rwanda Association of Midwives President, Obstetricians & Gynaecologist Association representatives, Paediatrician Association representatives, Registered midwives and nurses, and other stakeholders.

“With support from Ministries of Health representing a core component of the More Happy Birthdays project, a stronger Midwives’ Association in Rwanda will be able to support the ongoing professional development of the midwifery profession. A Happy Birthday is not only measured by lives saved, but also by ensuring a safe arrival of the new-born(s) into the world, a mother that has a high level of satisfaction with the childbirth experience, characterised by respectful and dignified maternity care.”   Said Dr. Sally Pairman, the ICM Chief Executive.

The Launch marks the continuation of collaborative project between ICM, LDSC and RAM and the introduction of Maternity Foundation, the creator of the Safe Delivery App. The Safe Delivery App is 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.

Speaking to the media amid the project launch, Josephine Murekezi, the President of the Rwanda Association of Midwives said that Rwanda is lucky and happy to benefit from this project in delivering improved quality of care through training the midwives and other health workers by enhancing stakeholder collaboration.

“We have managed to train midwives to ensure that mothers deliver in a safe environment, we are lucky that our partners gave us possible equipment and we managed to take preventive measures, we have learnt a lot to manage our finances and we have been supported to have efficient finance system in place,” she said.

The Rwandan Midwives Association (RAM) is a professional association supporting the midwifery profession, with vision to make midwifery 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.

“This project comes after two previous ones, including one of 2014-2016 that targeted 10,000 HBD in Zambia and Malawi to help 10,000 mothers have safe delivery, in 2018-2020; and another one that targeted 50,000 mothers to have safe delivery in Ethiopia, Rwanda and Tanzania. Through this newly inaugurated project, we target to help many mothers have safe delivery in the period of eight months,” said Angelique Uwineza, a midwife and Project Manager of More Happy Birthday project in Rwanda.

The project builds on the success of the 10,000 Happy Birthdays project, implemented in Zambia and Malawi from 2014-2016, and the 50,000 Happy Birthdays project implemented in Ethiopia, Rwanda and Tanzania from 2018-2020. These projects contributed to training more than 25,000 healthcare providers, improved quality of care and strengthened professional Midwives’ Associations.

Dr Olive Bazirete, a registered midwife and Assistant lecturer at the University of Rwanda’s College of Medicine and Health Sciences who is also the-in-charge of  Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) of the More Happy Birth Day project said that the new project will use offline applications to train midwives in reducing maternal , new-born and child morbidity & mortality.

“Trainees will use Safe Delivery Application to learn different lessons; internet will only be used once while installing the application in mobile phones, we will also use the Koobo –Collect tool to give us the image of how learners are performing.” Bazirete said.

The project will be implemented in 10 hospitals, 95 health centers and 7 teaching institutions. It will reach out 1,500 champions in total after its completion in 8 months from August 15th, 2021 until April 4th, 2022.

ICM supports, represents and works to strengthen professional associations of midwives throughout the world to achieve common goals in the care of mothers and newborns.

Jean Claude Kubwimana

Jean Claude Kubwimana

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