The Ministry of Health, in partnership with the Office of the First Lady, through Imbuto Foundation, yesterday launched what they called ‘Maternal and Child Health Week’, with a call on parents to closely monitor their children from the time of birth to adulthood.
The launch took place at Kageyo sector, Gicumbi District.
During this campaign, children between one and 15 years will be dewormed, while vitamin A administration will be provided for children from 6-59 months.
The State Minister in charge of Public Health and Primary Health Care, Dr Patrick Ndimubanzi, said four million children will be dewormed while 1.5 million across the country will be given vitamin A tablets during the course of the drive.
The minister called on parents to continue to monitor and follow up on their children from the time of birth to adulthood by giving them the right health messages and skills at each stage of development.
The ‘Maternal and Child Child Health week’ is used to deliver integrated packages of highly cost-effective preventative services to improve maternal and child health, and survival.
Major interventions will include sensitisation and awareness on malaria prevention and control, nutrition, especially for pregnant and lactating mothers, and children below the age of two years.
The Minister for Gender and Family Promotion Dr Diane Gashumba, urged all stakeholders to ensure good health in families by increasing vaccination sensitisation programmes.
She also commended community health workers for promoting good health practices.
In a statement released yesterday, the First Lady Jeannette Kagame spoke about the importance of ‘Maternal and Child Health Week’.
“During that week we promote antenatal consultations and teach mothers how to recognise risks during pregnancy. An integrated package of interventions for prevention for maternal and child death and sensitisation on family planning is shared. These weeks are also an occasion to raise awareness on breastfeeding, the fight against HIV/AIDS, vaccination, community health insurance, hygiene, and nutrition,” she said.
This week serves as an opportunity to catch up with health service provision with the communities from the district to the village levels, and makes it easier to reach the general population, including parents, teachers and health workers, according to the ministry.
This year’s launch ,which took place in Gicumbi District, coincides with the 6th African Vaccination Week, championed by the Organisation of African First Ladies (OAFLA), to run from April 24-30.
Rwanda has made major gains in immunisation with over 97 per cent coverage, thanks to rigorous health programmes driven by active mobilisation and awareness raising in different communities.
The Ministry of Health, in partnership with the Office of the First Lady, pledged to use best practices and behaviours, building on achievements in the field of immunisation as an entry point, to continue protecting mothers and their children from malaria, malnutrition, and issues affecting their sexual reproductive health.
Despite the progress, the Demographic Health Survey 2014-2015 showed that Rwanda still bears a heavy burden of high neonatal mortality (with 20 newborn deaths out of 1000 live births), and high infant mortality with 32 children who die before the age of 1 out of 1000 live births.
Partners from the World Health Organisation and US Agency for International Development graced the launch.