University of Rwanda launches Partnership with CIRHT for Pre-Service Education Training in Family Planning
The University of Rwanda and the Center for International Reproductive Health Training (CIRHT) at the University of Michigan announce a new partnership for Pre-Service Education Training in Family Planning
The University of Rwanda’s School of Medicine and Pharmacy and School of Nursing and Midwifery, in partnership with the Center for International Reproductive Health Training (CIRHT) at the University of Michigan, launched a partnership that will strengthen pre-service family planning training and build faculty capacity with the goal of reducing maternal morbidity and mortality throughout the country. This two-year partnership will work to enhance curricula, promote faculty development, heighten the quality of clinical services in Reproductive Health, and enhance the research culture at the University of Rwanda.
Led by the Dean of the School of Medicine and Pharmacy, Prof. Stephen Rulisa, the program will provide interventions at campus sites in Kigali’s CHUK and Muhima hospitals and Remera campus, Huye’s CHUB hospital and medical, and nursing/midwifery campus, and Rwamagana’s nursing campus. Using the CIRHT framework, the program will be tailored to Rwanda’s specific context, with the leadership of Dr. Rulisa and his team of local experts governing implementation.
Rwanda has made great strides in addressing maternal mortality and morbidity. But there is a rising fertility rate among rural women, due in large part to lack of modern methods of contraception and also a sharp rise in teenage pregnancies. In 2016, at least 17,444 teenage pregnancies were recorded, according to the Ministry of Health, with most girls dropping out of school.
Globally, the significant unmet need for comprehensive reproductive health services results in unacceptably high levels of maternal mortality and morbidity. One of the contributing factors is the shortage and lack of adequately trained workforce in the provision of comprehensive family planning. Current medical education in most developing countries does not include comprehensive reproductive health training, which leads to graduates leaving their health professional schools unprepared to provide reproductive health services.
Health Minister Diana Gashumba attended the launch and emphasized the country’s need for pre-service family planning training.
“This partnership between the University of Rwanda and the Center for International Health Training at the University of Michigan is going to bridge the gap in capacity-building, knowledge for our nurses and midwives to deliver family planning in Rwanda. This is a solution because we used to be forced to take our nurses away from their working place to train them but today with this project we hope that every nurse, every midwife, that is sent to the market will have the needed package of skills to deliver family planning to our community.”
Dr. Rulisa will work with the Dean of the School of Nursing and Midwifery and department heads to implement the new academic elements. He stressed that the university will take on the implementation of the program.
“The core aim of this program is ownership. We are supporting people in terms of capacity-building to make sure that the services can be integrated into our policies and continue. It is a cornerstone of their philosophy. We have designed interventions appropriate to the local context.”
Janet Hall, CIRHT Managing Director, welcomed the new partnership. After working with ten medical schools and hospitals in Ethiopia for the past three years, Rwanda is the second country in which the Center will support academic institutions.
“In Rwanda, it is partnership with the university, the government, you all will tell us what you need, and we will respond. In some ways this is an even more exciting collaboration because we have learned so much as a team, as a Center, we have learned so much from our engagement in Ethiopia, and all of you will be the beneficiaries of that learning.”
University of Rwanda Vice Chancellor Prof. Phil Cotton reminded the audience of the ultimate mission of expanding family planning training, access and service.
“Unwanted pregnancy to me is about fear, is about isolation, is about stigma. Because those are the things that go through the hearts and minds and lives of young women. So whatever we do at the University of Rwanda, we have to remove those things that oppress people, and provide access, relative informality, dignity, love, justice.”