Over 500 students get midwifery programs’ scholarship 

The Ministry of Health awarded scholarships to 500 students to pursue their studies in health sciences, focusing on midwifery.

The development, which happened on Tuesday, March 19, was done in partnership with United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Rwanda through the USAID Ireme project implemented by Management Sciences for Health (MSH). It is expected to address the shortage of healthcare professionals in Rwanda, focusing on midwives.

Under the scholarship, beneficiaries will get tuition fees and living allowances. Students who study for three years will be awarded a diploma, while those who study for four years will receive a bachelor’s degree.  

The sponsored beneficiaries will pursue their studies at three local teaching institutions, including East Africa Christian College, Institut Catholique de Kabgayi and Kibogora Polytechnic.

According to Dr Menelas Nkeshimana, Head of Department of Health Workforce Development at the Ministry of Health, the increase of midwives will effectively tackle maternal mortality rates as well as harmonising service delivery in midwifery.

Dr Anitha Asiimwe, Chief of Party, USAID Ireme project, noted that the primary goal of the scholarships is to enhance workforce capacity especially for midwives and to improve health outcomes specifically for mothers and new-borns across the country.

Asiimwe said that the support will enable beneficiaries to study their courses effectively and avoid drop out cases that might occur due to lack of financial support.

She emphasized that the USAID Ireme project will help the government achieve its target to tackle the shortage of nurses and improve the quality of service delivery in health especially caring for mothers, adding that the scholarship is a testament to the USAID Ireme’s commitment to aligning with the government of Rwanda’s health sector priorities.

Dr. Papias Musafiri Malimba, the principal of East Africa Christian College which will host a big number of sponsored students (240), said that the opportunity will help increase the number of students who enrol especially in health sciences programmes.

“The number of students in this programme (midwifery) was still low because of financial issues. The scholarships have opened doors for students who were eager to pursue their studies,” he added.

Beneficiaries speak out

“I am very happy to benefit from the scholarship. We applied in huge numbers, but I am lucky to have been chosen among the few. It was very difficult for parents to provide me with school fees because of the number of children in the family and each needed scholastic materials,” one of the students said.

Another beneficiary added: “I have been practicing nursing for over 20 years, but I was not able to advance my studies due to financial issues. Benefiting from this scholarship is a great chance for me because it will help me advance in knowledge.”

Official statistics show that there are only 2000 midwives in the country. To increase the number, the Ministry of Health plans to multiply the healthcare workforce by fourfold within the next four years.