An association of midwives was born to save human lives in Burundi. It is an initiative of young Burundians engaged in the promotion of mother-child health and which, according to this Burundian blogger and journalist, is to be welcomed.
It was founded in October 2017 by the first promotion of Midwives from the University Institute of Health Sciences and Community Development of Bujumbura in Burundi.
These young Burundians and Burundians want, on the one hand, to provide assistance and medical follow-up to women of childbearing age. On the other hand, they want to assist children under five and adolescents. Here is The Midwife in Action’s Association (MAA-Vyara uheke), the association which has given itself the mission of contributing to the reduction of maternal-fetal mortality in Burundi.
“ Midwives are a necessary pillar for improving women’s health conditions “, says Augustin Harushimana, the legal representative of this association.
Then, he reveals that MAA-Vyara uheke has set itself the goal of contributing to the development of mother and child health. MAA-Vyara uheke works to strengthen the capacities of midwives to ensure quality care for the reduction of maternal-fetal mortality in Burundi.
It should be noted that in Burundi this initiative will guarantee every woman of childbearing age and her newborn baby access to quality health care provided by midwives.
Where did the motivation come from?
Augustin Harushimana states the following. Let us compare the number of human resources in health compared to the standards decreed by the WHO. Burundi notes a shortage of Midwives.
Indeed, Burundi has more than 1,389 midwives graduates until April 2020. On the other hand, only 246 qualified midwives work in the public health sector and the private health sector at all levels.
Thus, it is estimated that 1 midwife in 27,080 inhabitants compared to 1 midwife in 5,000 women of childbearing age.
In addition, there are 334 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2016-2017, according to a third Burundi Demographic and Health Survey (EDSB-III).
However, the representative of MAA-Vyara Uheke recalls the work to be done to achieve the target 3 of Sustainable Development Goals . By 2030, the aim will be to reduce the neonatal and infant and child mortality rate respectively to less than 12 and 25 deaths per 1,000 live births (NV). Likewise, the maternal mortality rate must be reduced to less than 140 deaths per 100,000 NV, which seems difficult for Burundi.
So where does MAA’s contribution lie?
One day I went to the minor seminary in Kanyosha, a district in the south of the economic capital, Bujumbura. I went there to donate blood. I was well received by dynamic and smiling young girls and boys from MAA-Vyara Uheke.
These young people from MAA-Vyara Uheke organized the blood donation operation. These same young people are in charge of the follow-up, in collaboration with the National Blood Transfusion Center, CNTS.
Thus, the blood collection favorably supports the care of women during childbirth. MAA-Vyara Uheke provides social assistance for childbirth in different health centers.
MAA-Vyara Uheke provides medical support to various health centers. This support consists of healthcare, training, research and conferences, both international and national. The same association also facilitates visits to different universities for midwifery students and the organization of awareness-raising activities.
Being a midwife in Burundi, a job that does not lack imperfections.
First of all, according to Augustin Harushimana, there are a considerable number of unemployed midwives in Burundi. There are over 1300 unemployed midwives in Burundi. In addition, there are the irregularities that can be seen in their services.
Then there is no regulatory body for the profession. That is to say an order of midwives in Burundi. The profession is, according to him, not represented in the decision-making bodies of the Ministry of Public Health and the fight against AIDS.
Finally, the discouragement of midwives and midwifery students is added to the lack of technical and financial partners. This situation worries the association.
Harushimana recommends that the government set up a regulatory body. The latter will be governed by laws. This organization will make it possible to harmonize the training of midwives in collaboration with the Ministry of National Education.
We must add to these functions of the regulatory body the recruitment of unemployed midwives. This will directly contribute to reducing the number of women who die during childbirth and neonatal deaths.
Harushimana asks the population to learn about the profession of midwife. But also, the population must demand the provision of midwives to monitor mother-child health.
As for young girls and women, they must recognize the role of the midwife. For healthy sexual and reproductive health, they should consult midwives whenever needed and follow their advice closely.
By Dieudonné Ndayizeye