There is need for collective efforts to curb deaths of children under five.
The call was made by officials on Monday during the launch of the Global Week Action organised by the World Vision Rwanda in Gakenke District.
The annual Global Week of Action aims at rallying World Vision offices around the world and partners for joint efforts to check the mortality rate of children under five worldwide.
The event was attended by hundreds of residents from Gakenke, as well as government and regional World Vision officials.
George Gitau, the World Vision’s National Director, said Rwanda was committed toward improving maternal health.
He said that while the government and partners have joined efforts to minimise the deaths of children under five, there are still millions of such innocent people dying annually worldwide which calls for more efforts to reverse the trend.
The number of children dying each year under the age of five has fallen by 42 per cent in the past two decades while maternal mortality has declined by 47 per cent.
“Despite this remarkable progress, many countries will not meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) target for improving child and maternal health.
‘‘There are still countless children around the world who live and die unseen, unencountered and unable to access health services that would save their lives,” said Gitau.
Every year, 6.6 million children under age of five die of preventable causes such as pneumonia, diarrhea and under nutrition, two million die before the sun sets on their first day while half million die each year during pregnancy or in connection with child birth.
“These facts are so awful, it hurts to even think about them, we can prevent most of these human tolls,” Gitau added.
World Vision interventions are in various sectors across the country, from supporting children and parents from vulnerable families, and building schools, to fighting malnutrition and under nutrition through various programmes, according to Aime Bosenibamwe, the Northern Province governor.
Bosenibamwe hailed the NGO for its support, especially for the vulnerable in the Northern Province and urged beneficiaries to ensure programme sustenance.
He reaffirmed government’s commitment to meeting MDG targets and other programmes aimed at improving children and Rwandans welfare in general.
Infant Mortality Rate in 2012 was at 48.6 per cent, down from 139 per cent in 2002, according to figures from the 4th Population Housing Census of 2012.
Regarding Under-Five mortality rate (U5MR), it showed that 72 per cent of the new-born were likely to die before their fifth anniversary.
Monique Nirere, a Gakenke parent, said all parents need to play a key role in the welfare of their children.
“Our children used to suffer from malnutrition related diseases yet we don’t lack food but knowledge on nutrition. We have now been trained on how to prepare balanced diet– most of us have adopted proper hygiene measures, together with our children we are healthier than before,” she said.
The Global Week of Action was organised under the theme ‘Stop nothing to get to zero poverty and zero preventable deaths for children under 5 years of age.’