You are here


Rwanda: Women leaders on the frontlines of the COVID-19 response 

On March 8, Rwanda joined the rest of the world in celebrating the International Women's Day under the theme: “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world”. 2021 Women’s day was an opportunity to celebrate the tremendous efforts by women and girls around the world in shaping a more equal future and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and highlights the gaps that remain.

Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, women have kept entire societies going, sustaining health systems as the majority of front-line workers, and courageously managing extra responsibilities at home in caring for the ill as well as children out of school. As the battle against COVID-19 continues, women continue to get pregnant and babies are still being born.  Childbirth doesn't stop for pandemics, and neither do midwives. Midwives are working tirelessly on the front line in hospitals and health centers, risking their own lives and wellbeing to save the lives of women and newborns.

Josephine Murekezi, the President of Rwanda Midwives Association and the Director of Nursing services in maternal child and women health at King Faisal Hospital, says that during the beginning of Covid19 pandemic, midwives faced many obstacles including shortage of staff, some of them were infected by patients despite strict measures taken.

Covid19 has given us a lot of work. Everyone was afraid of getting infected because we were not prepared and were used to meet a lot of people. A large number of mothers we received, did not know their status if they were infected or not because they had not been tested.” Said Josephine Murekezi

The Rwanda Midwives Association she is leading is made up of 2215 midwives both men and women, who are the backbone of maternal health system in Rwanda, delivering babies and much more.

“We were challenged by the fact that there was no cure nor vaccine of Covid19 available at that time, but we stayed encouraged to not stop helping mothers and patients who needed us day by day.” Said Murekezi.