$48.5m project to improve maternal, infant services

Officials at the Ingobyi project launch in Kigali. (Photos/Diane Mushimiyimana)

The Ministry of Health, in collaboration with IntraHealth International, has unveiled a five-year project to tackle preventable infant and maternal deaths.

Under the $48.5 million project, dubbed ‘Ingobyi’, which is loosely translated as palanquin, the ministry seeks to tackle preventable health issues that threaten the lives of mothers and children through high quality and integrated health services.

It is expected to cover over 20 districts across the country, focusing on Continuum of Care for reproductive, maternal, new born and child health as well as malaria prevention and treatment.

According to IntraHealth International, the Ingobyi project will build upon achievements Rwanda has made in the health sector, as well as previous USAID investments in the sector to provide a healthier, more productive future for Rwandan children and mothers.

“Building on strong partnerships we hope our interventions will expand access to reproductive, ante-natal and post-natal care as well as malaria services in a sustainable manner along the continuum of care in targeted districts to contribute effectively to healthier mothers and children,” said Ummuro Adano , the East African Regional  Director of IntraHealth International.

The USA Ambassador to Rwanda, Peter Vrooman, commended the ministry for the achievements made in integrated maternal and child health services, which was demonstrated by the country’s achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for health.

Minister of Health Diane Gashumba. 

Such positive outcomes, he said, attract the organisation to commit to continuous collaboration towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 3.

Infant mortality declined from 86 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2005 to 32 in the 2014-2015 fiscal year, according to the ministry.

During the same period, under-5 mortalities sharply declined from 152 to 50 deaths per 1,000 live births.

Between 2010 and 2015, maternal mortality decreased from 750 to 210 per 100,000 live births due to increased number of health centres, more commitment from community health workers, which has raised the confidence of pregnant women to seek for ante-natal services and giving birth from hospitals.

The SDG 3, which seeks to reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100 000 live births.

Ending preventable deaths of new-borns and children under 5 years of age,

With all countries aiming to reduce neonatal mortality to at least as low as 12 per 1000 live births and under-5 mortality to at least as low as 25 per 1000 live births. The Minister of health Diane Gashumba   mentioned that a lot need to be done to fill existing gaps to achieve intended outcomes and successful achieve the SDG3.

 She said that by getting more partnership in supplementing the government work, it gives more assurance for greater impact.

“We are grateful for this new partnership which came in to complement what have been achieved through the previous interventions. We are looking forward to improved services mainly   focusing on increasing the rate of antennal visits, postnatal care reporting and family planning services,” she said.

Gashumba urged health service providers to maximise the capacity of building opportunities available and using the skills gained to reducing infant and maternal deaths.