DAKAR - With increasing nutritional progress, maternal health improvement and implementation of the nine year basic education programme that includes pre-school, Rwanda has been cited as a nation committed to the development of its youngest population.
The remarks were made yesterday at the 4th African International Conference on Early Childhood Development that is underway in Dakar, Senegal.
According to the Country Deputy Representative of UNICEF, Dr. Jane Wangui Muita the major steps taken as regards Early Childhood Development (ECD) are an assurance for the country’s bright future.
“Compared to other African countries, Rwanda has done well. Most women access antenatal care which is a vital stage for child development.”
“It is also impressive that over 50 percent of pregnant women deliver at health facilities compared to the 30 percent in the previous years. If a child is not given proper care at such stages, their brains can be damaged permanently,” Muita warned.
The official emphasized this to highlight the need for countries to scale up interventions that promote parental, healthcare and educational needs for children within the 0-8, age bracket, crucial of human development.
As regards education, she also noted that resource centres are being set up to train teachers in children’s needs.
“There are adequate classrooms, enough area to play, facilities for disabled children hence child protection and sanitary facilities for both boys and girls. By implementing all this, Rwanda has set a strong ground for child-brain development as they play and study,” Muita underscored.
She therefore urged other nations to emulate these efforts but highlighted that much more is still needed as regards men’s involvement in child upbringing.
Various child care experts have continuously underscored that a child needs support from both parents to build his or her confidence to face and overcome future challenges.
Dr. Solange Hakiba, Head of maternal health in the ministry of health also added that men involvement in prevention of mother-to-child-transmission (PMTCT) and in antenatal care is steadily increasing.
The conference which brings together over 500 delegates from across the world was officially opened on Tuesday by the Senegalese President, Abdoulaye Wade.