Mr. HITAYEZU Jean Bosco Henri a Male Registered Midwife Educator at the University of Rwanda Shared Stories and of Experiences of His Midwifery Journey on International Day of Midwives (IDM) on May 05, 2020

I am a male registered midwife since 2012; I am proud of being a midwife” I love to be a midwife deep in my soul”. My Journey of becoming a midwife started in 2009 when I was admitted in midwifery program at former Kigali Health Institute of Health (KHI), currently the University of Rwanda. I cannot forget the time that I received my admission letter. What I remember on that day, I read my admission letter, then I asked the admission officer to explain more about what is midwifery? She responded that you will study midwifery (ububyaza). At that moment I cried because I thought that it is a female profession and I planned to change the department fortunately I did not work. Admission officer insisted that you were born from your mommy with a help of midwives why are you not interested in caring and helping other women to give birth? At that moment I accepted the challenge through 3 years wondering how women will accept the male midwives to conduct deliveries. I tried to search information regarding midwifery profession from the senior midwives during clinical placements and read through national reports regarding maternal and neonatal mortality status, how midwives are needed on labor market and I get motivated to continue my studies. After completing advanced diploma in Midwifery (2009-2011), I worked three years in clinics a registered midwife at Kibogora District Hospital from 2012-2014. What I remember, I have got many challenges at the beginning of my midwifery job but later I become familiar and confidence in my midwifery practices. I have got chances of being trained to SONU/EmONC and other internal CPDs after 2 years I was nominated to be matron of Obstetrics and Gynaecology department. I have got many training on leadership and management skills, operating room training where I worked in theatre especially for obstetrics and gynaecology operation, basic skills on use of ultrasound and sterilization methods of family Planning. I my daily responsibility as a registered midwife at district hospital conducted several spontaneous vaginal deliveries, assisted vaginal deliveries, manual vacuum aspiration, newborn care and newborn resuscitation and providing contraceptive methods. We save life of women and newborns through team working, collaboration, leadership, communication, commitment. We were the team of 13 midwives for the average of 60 women in maternity capacity daily average. I used to work day and nights receiving women, monitoring, conducting deliveries, postnatal care and scrubbing in operating room where no time to talk with your colleague midwives, no time for lunch. What I learned is that midwife has to think quickly and react as soon as possible, and it is team work even if you are few midwives at your shift. Throughout this experience I was delighted to upgrade my studies so that I can increase teaching, research, leadership skills and professionalism. My heart is full of the joy of the work done during my clinical setting time due to partnership with colleague midwives and women as our partners. I usually meet with different women and some of them used to contact me via my telephone number indicating their willingness to show me their baby. Most of them said: “is you who helped me to deliver this baby”. I cannot forget one day we received a message from district leaders in the suggestion box of our district hospital recognizing the work done by the hospital especially maternity department’s team. I was so surprised that my name was mentioned because I was also the Matron of maternity at that time. That was the motivation to every member of midwifery team and encouraged us in our daily working activities. Midwives do not stop when we are tired we stop when we are done. After three year I returned back to university for upgrading in Bachelor‘s degree in Midwifery. I combined the clinical experience I have and my studies were we usually use the word evidence based practice. At that moment I learned that advanced diploma mostly is hands on than using a lot of evidence based. During the journey of my Bachelor in midwifery we used reflective journals for the daily work done to reflect on the way we are providing midwifery care. After completion this bachelor I returned back to apply the knowledge and skills gained from evidence based practice; conducting deliveries in different positions, performing MVA, providing contraceptive method, avoid unnecessary episiotomy especially for primigravida in Respective Maternal care to all women and their families. My experiences of 3 years (2014-2017) in academic journey started in private institution Kibogora Polytechnic from 2014 I combined studying a bachelor in midwifery and Postgraduate Certificate Learning and Teaching in Higher education and teaching. It was amazing at that time because I transmitted directly what I learned at school to my students during classroom, skills laboratory and clinical setting. At that period, I started enjoying academic as midwife educator. I appreciated the way I motivated and mobilized students to join midwifery profession, at the beginning we had 13 midwives then year after we had 26 midwives and continue to rise. I cannot forget the time all midwives I trained succeeded 100% in licensing exam and all get employed immediately after graduation. It was easy to teach what you have experienced in clinical field this enable to share experience with the students. After 3 years 2017 to date, I am midwife educator at university of Rwanda, School of Nursing and Midwifery. I am facilitating the courses related to maternal and child health in Bachelor program in classroom, simulation lab, community and clinical settings. At university of Rwanda I had to get the opportunity to meet with senior educator midwives, I appreciated their continuous mentorship are providing to me in order to effectively reach my dreams. I develop my personal and professional experience by using different teaching methodologies and from the student midwives who come for upgrading. I had the opportunity to travel for working experience sharing abroad in different countries Ethiopia and Belgium through grant projects. What is making me happy is that testimonies/feedbacks from my students for different setting that means when you are teaching the message reach everywhere in order to improve the maternal and neonatal health, and reproductive health services delivery. The lesson I learned is that “whatever knowledge you may have cannot help the learners instead of how you deliver what you have is worthy”. As a midwife educator I use facilitation and student-centered approaches in my classroom and clinical teaching activities and I always learn from my student verse while facilitating their learning activities. Not only that, I learned that a facilitator may play also the role of parent, counselor and advisor. Education and experience are not enough to be a professional midwife, it is the reason why continuous professional developments (CPDs) are needed to refresh, update our knowledge and skills. Through different CPD trainings provided by the University of Rwanda, Rwanda Association of Midwives (RAM), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA),Training, Support and Access Model (TSAM) for Maternal, Newborns and Child health(MNCH), Maternal and Child Survival Program (MCSP), and The Center for International Reproductive Health Training-Michigan University (CIRHT). These different trainings shaped and improved my competencies in clinical, teaching and research area during my journey. I learned that in daily life learning is process and I become lifelong learner for that I am upgrading my studies in masters and my dream is to reach at PhD that will enable me in research and leadership for improving maternal and neonatal, and reproductive health. Midwifery profession needs advanced technology in teaching and clinical settings. It is the reason why we are using different e-learning platforms, to continue delivering courses to midwives wherever they are due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Once the school will resume in September,2020 this will facilitate the recap. Midwives are more than catching babies, Male and female can practice midwifery profession, midwife can do clinical, profession, leadership and managerial, education/teaching, professional, and advocacy role. We are doing the respected and noble profession. Women are our partners and we are there to help them the reason why this year 5th May, 2020 with women; we celebrate, demonstrate, mobilize and unite, our time is now. I address my gratitude to my family, university of Rwanda, Rwanda Association of Midwives and stakeholders and my country without you all I cannot achieve my dreams to improve maternal and neonatal, and Reproductive health. I love and proud to be a midwife deep-deep in my soul. Vive-Midwifery profession.

Published on June 04, 2020

Author: Mr. HITAYEZU Jean Bosco Henri, RM, BScM, PGCLTHE Midwife educator at University of Rwanda, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, School of Nursing and Midwifery +250788273931/hitab88@gmail.com

Edited and Submitted by Jean Pierre Ndayisenga, RM, BScN, MScN, Nurse-Midwife Educator at University of Rwanda Member of Rwanda Association of Midwives (RAM) Email: ndayijepi45@gmail.com/ j.ndayisenga@ur.ac.rw