The MSFC Rwanda chapter has provided a good opportunity for the promotion of reproductive health topics, including abortion care. Despite the legal restrictions around matters of abortion, MSFC is the only opportunity for Rwandan medical students to discuss abortion issues, and it is a good occasion for all members to realize the burden weighing on women’s health and reproductive rights in general. MSFC Rwanda is a good opportunity to identify advocacy strategy and means to reach the right targets. It is important to recognize the need of reproductive health rights and to advocate for them in the context of human rights.
Given that I’m a physician in training and prone to practice this care, MSFC plays a significant role in medical education, especially when it comes to abortion care awareness as a reproductive health choice. It also has been a good opportunity to learn various contraceptive methods like LARC (Long Acting and Reverse contraception), which are not a focus in our daily classes. In the future, the skills and knowledge gained from MSFC will play a significant role in improving the curriculum in the matter of reproductive health.
There are a lot of legal restrictions concerning abortion care in Rwanda, and this is a challenge for people who wish to become providers. However, as we continue advocacy for full reproductive health rights, there is hope that we will be able to offer not only counseling but also abortion care itself; and this will have a big role in reducing the high mortality rate in Rwanda. The most valuable MSFC experience has been taking part in the international Conference on Family Planning 2012, and the meetings and workshops carried out in MSFC Rwanda, where students not only gathered knowledge and skills, but they also learned from each others experiences and knowledge.
Chris, MSFC Rwanda Student Leader, National University of Rwanda