KIGALI - First Lady, Jeannette Kagame, yesterday called upon stakeholders to mobilize, sensitise and motivate Rwandans towards reduction of maternal deaths and take innovative actions against the problem.
Mrs. Kagame said this during the General Assembly of the White Ribbon Alliance (WRA) for safe motherhood, and launch of a Campaign for Accelerated Reduction of Maternal Mortality (CARMA) in Kigali.
In her capacity as patron of WRA–Rwanda, she emphasized the need to accelerate efforts towards achievement of the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 5 that aims at reducing the death rate, and petitioned officials to devote to this fight.
“I appeal to each one of you to re-dedicate yourselves wholeheartedly to do more so that we can one day celebrate the fact that no precious lives are lost because of a condition we could have prevented,” she said.
In relation to the stunning statistics which show that every three hours one Rwandan mother loses her life from pregnancy-related complications, Mrs. Kagame welcomed the new campaign and urged officials to exploit the opportunity.
“The timing of this campaign is appropriate and I would like to express my appreciation to the African Union for planting this seed. Now it is the task of each African nation to water and nurture this seed so that all mothers and babies can have what they deserve – life,” she said.
Mrs. Kagame also noted that CARMA will advance national efforts and increase the momentum towards achieving the country’s health goals stressing that failure to achieve MDG 5 is not an option.
According to the Minister of Health, Dr. Richard Sezibera, maternal mortality statistics from the Ministry of Health show that eight women die every day due to preventable complications while 2,956 lose their lives annually.
The African Union Goodwill Ambassador on maternal and child health, Dr. Tshabalala Msimang, who is also well known for her remarkable efforts towards boosting Rwanda’s health system, also hailed Rwanda for taking on this campaign.
“The launch of this initiative will significantly save many lives, but it must be translated into practical actions as we believe that no one should die giving life and that every death is one too many.
“CARMA brings additional impetus to this country’s efforts to achieve this goal, and as such, its long term effect will impact positively on infant mortality rates,” Msimang said.
Officials also noted that this initiative will enable Rwanda to reach MDG 5 long before 2015.
As part of stepping up efforts to make motherhood safer, a WRA – Rwanda chapter, elected a board with Senator Marie Mukantabana of the Rwanda Women Parliamentary Forum as its Chairperson.
Other officials who attended the ceremony include the Parliament Speaker, Rose Mukantabana, the Chargé d’Affaires at the US Embassy, Anne Casper, and the George Washington University representative, Dr. Ayoade Alakija Olatunbosun among others.
Representatives of World Health Organisation, USAID, UN and World Bank also graced the occasion.