Home NewsNational Rwanda-Belgian Health Cooperation Improves Maternal Healthcare

Rwanda-Belgian Health Cooperation Improves Maternal Healthcare

by Daniel Sabiiti
1:24 pm

A new modern maternity wing, currently under construction at Kibagabaga hospital in Kigali, is set to reduce congestion and improve existing maternal health services for mothers and new born babies.

The facility construction and equipping is funded under the Belgian-Rwandan government health cooperation at a tune of Rwf11.2billion, and according to construction engineers the structure (currently at 36%) is expected to be completed by March 2025.

The 3-floor maternity building with a capacity of 194 beds, a teaching room for the medical students, oxygen plant, pharmacy, a triage, computer lab,emergency and consultation rooms offers services such as family planning and advanced fertility programs among others.

“The new maternity building will provide holistic maternity services where-for example- an expectant mother and child will receive all services in one building without having to move around. It will also have enough space to accommodate patient caregivers,” said Pierre Kubaho, the Clinical Director at Kibagabaga hospital.

The holistic and special aspects about the facility is that it will have a pathology, gynecology services; rooms for normal born delivery, new born hospitalization, surgical site infection ward, mothers’ room, mothers who lost their babies, a kangaroo care and a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for referred babies; among other services to improve a mother and child healthcare.

The new facility will replace the existing 40 bed maternity ward which has a capacity to handle 60 patients in three days but has been receiving over 170; and according to hospital officials and patients, there has been over crowding due to an increase in the population and number of expectant mothers.

Mothers and patient caregivers at the hospital said that unlike the existing maternity ward, the anticipated facility brings new hope for better maternity services not only for patients but also caregivers.

“We sometimes have had to share a bed between two mothers and that can be very inconvenient for the patient and a new born child but also for the caregivers who have to stay outside the ward. This will no longer be the case” said Josiane Niyigena, a one day mother.

Financing for the Kibagabaga facility is part of the wider five- year Belgian-Rwandan government health cooperation,which through the Belgian Development Agency- Enabel, earmarked for 44.7million Euros from 2019-2024.

The funding was channeled to the improvement of Rwanda’s Reproductive, Maternal, Neonatal, Child and Adolescent Health (RMNCAH) aimed at enabling universal access to quality integrated healthcare in seven selected districts intervening.

“We used to have one where mothers used to line up and wait to be attended to, but now we have more beds, enough and clean space which is conducive for one to give birth,” said Mediatrice Mutuyimana, the Health Centre Director.

The Belgian Head of Cooperation, Laurent Preud’homme said that the cooperation in health and other sectors has a true bilateral program and the activities will be extended to also tackle other areas which were not addressed in the previous program.

“We have these bilateral programs renewed every five years and this time we will continue in the same sectors were are working on (health, agriculture and urbanization),”Preud’homme said.

Dr. Francois Regis Kiza, Director of Health Facilities Programs Unit Maternal Child and community Health Division at Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC) said that the impact of improved maternal and child healthcare in the program will be duplicated across the country.

“The Government is committed to have all Rwandan hospitals and Health Centers have similar improved maternity healthcare. This may take long but we will ensure that these benefits are replicated in all health facilities,” Kiza said.

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