Religious leaders vow to reduce maternal deaths

Religious leaders from various faith-based organizations have agreed to increase their involvement in the fight against maternal mortality. The leaders, who were meeting in Kigali, last week, to lay a roadmap on the issue, noted the importance of the family component citing that it should be the duty of leaders to ensure that members of their congregation give birth in a family setting.

Religious leaders from various faith-based organizations have agreed to increase their involvement in the fight against maternal mortality.

The leaders, who were meeting in Kigali, last week, to lay a roadmap on the issue, noted the importance of the family component citing that it should be the duty of leaders to ensure that members of their congregation give birth in a family setting.

Father Janvier Nduwayezu from Ruhengeri said that some girls may become pregnant out of wedlock and fear to reveal it because they know that it is not right.

“These girls may refuse to go to health facilities for antenatal care or might even consider abortion. The church is against abortion, and it is up to us the leaders to accept and join such people in holy matrimony if at all they are ready to seek forgiveness from the Almighty God,” Nduwayezu said.

Officials also added that faith based organizations have the capability to reach every citizen with messages regarding eliminating maternal mortality, adding that can be done alongside religious teachings.

Dr. Anicet Nzabonimpa, from the Ministry of Health, explained that religious leaders should also play a key role in encouraging people to have few children they are able to raise. He emphasized that one of the reasons for maternal mortality is having too many children.

“The fact is that the maternal mortality rate of Rwanda is still high, with 750 women dying of pregnancy-related causes out of 100,000. Having so many children with no birth spacing definitely puts the lives of mothers at risk,” Nzabonimpa explained.

Participants tackled various topics including the role of Islam in the promotion of maternal and child health. It was noted that a book which was prepared to help in the sensitization drive based on the Quran and Bible will soon be launched.

Ministry of Health officials have noted that various interventions such as distribution of mosquito bed nets, introduction of the maternal death audit system and procurement of ambulances for emergency cases are among the adopted measures that aim at curbing the death rates.

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