In Rwanda, Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care Trainings Help to Save Lives

This blog post was originally published by MCHIP. Written by Beata Mukarugwiro, Christopher Mazimba, Musengente Petronille and Abayisenga Gloriose.

 Mother saved after postpartum hemorrhage, and her baby.  Below: Newborn health training in Rwanda.

 Running a labor room or ward can be challenging, especially if  it is not staffed with health care providers who have updated  lifesaving skills. For this reason, MCHIP—in collaboration with  Rwanda’s Ministry of Health (MOH)—has been conducting in-  service emergency obstetric and newborn care (EmONC)  trainings for health care providers in nine target districts of the  country. MCHIP is also providing supportive supervision visits to reinforce these providers’ competencies in providing high-quality care to mothers and newborns.

“Following the training in EmONC by MCHIP, I was able to save this mother’s life when she bled after birth because of a cervical tear that I managed to suture,” says Mukamugenga Patricie (on the right in picture), who works in Kirambo Health Center. The trained health providers say that the EmONC training and follow up has been the key to increased competencies in health facilities within the target districts.

“Following the training in EmONC by MCHIP, we made a big change in our hospital in terms of management of obstetric and neonatal complications," says Mujawayezu Jeannette (on the left in picture at top), who is a midwife working in Nemba hospital.

These changes include:

  • Rapidly evaluating patients in emergencies, saving the lives of women and avoiding complications;

  • Performing active management of the third stage of labor to prevent postpartum hemorrhage in a systematic and timely way;

  • Better managing pre-eclampsia/ eclampsia; and

  • Improving infection prevention.

"In addition, I’m feeling confident when I’m performing different EmONC procedures like breech deliveries, manual removal of placental, vaginal laceration repairs and the like," Ms. Jeannette adds. "I managed to orient the rest of my team members who have not yet been able to be trained.”

“Following the training in EmONC, I have really appreciated the positive change in the Helping Babies Breathe (HBB) program that we made in our hospital, especially how we emphasize the readiness to deliver in order to be able to help babies who have problems to breath within the ‘golden minute,’” says M.Claire Dushimiyimana, a nurse working in the Nemba hospital maternity.

Developed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the HBB initiative was designed to equip birth attendants in developing countries with the skills they need to successfully resuscitate babies who do not breathe on their own. At the center of HBB is the concept of "The Golden Minute": within one minute of birth, a baby should be breathing well or should be ventilated with a bag and mask.


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