The First Lady made the call on Sunday as she officially launched the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) congress held in Kigali to discuss Sexual Reproductive Health and well-being of women around the world.
She told participants of the three-day meeting that women’s life matters and should be maintained by professionals.
Mrs. Kagame said that Rwanda recognizes the role being played by everyone attending the Congress, and the contributions they are and will make to support the provision of services to improve mothers’ health and that of their newborns and took the opportunity to emphasize the need to put women’s health at the centre.
“By putting women’s health first and at the centre of our work, we will be more effective to end preventable maternal, newborn and child deaths,” she said.
Ms. Kagame commended achieved milestone whereby deliveries attended by a skilled health care provider have steadily increased over the last decade, with currently 91% of women giving birth in a health facility, and the same percentage assisted by a skilled provider.
“While many women give birth in a state of zen-like call, many others owe their lives and those of our babies to the skills of medics and midwives,” she said.
Although it is viewed as a normal physiological process, the First Lady stressed that labour and birth can produce significant pain requiring appropriate pain management.
“Beyond data and statistics, improvements in ensuring the best quality of care for a mother to deliver, should also prioritise humanising maternity care and the expansion of birth options which, at the same time, prioritise midwifery-led care for women of all risk,” she noted.
“A woman should be able to create a pain plan with them early, in order to be prepared for what to expect. How a woman wants to deal with childbirth pain is an important decision. Her interaction with an obstetrician and anaesthesiologist should be encouraged, no matter where she gives birth, so they can talk about options and provide recommendations,” added Mrs. Kagame.
She highlighted that pain relief during labour should not be seen as a failure noting that it is available to reduce maternal distress and enhance the progress of labour, as most women wish they had some degree of relief during that intense moment.
“You calm our fears by sharing all you know and by serving others. Where would we be without you, without your knowledge and healing hands? We are forever grateful for your great work, for your skills and for your constant support and positive attitude. There can be millions of reasons why you decide to pursue a career in medicine. And perhaps, the most important reason is your own calling. You commit your life to saving other’s lives,” stressed Mrs. Kagame.
Mrs Jeannette Kagame invited all participants to commit to providing each woman with all the best options, to make informed decisions about such a special moment in her life and that of her entire family.
“No woman should die while giving life,” she said.
The meeting is taking place at Kigali Convention Centre but others attend virtually.
This virtual event is hosted by the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) in partnership with the African Federation of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Rwanda Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
The Congress brings together more than 1000 health professionals including obstetricians and gynaecologists, midwives, nurses, advocates, decision makers, and other specialists in the field of women’s health and policy.
It will enable important discussions that help to shape national, regional and global policy and ultimately ensure the physical, mental, reproductive and sexual health and well-being of women throughout the world now, and in the future.