There is need to strengthen interventions to improve the health of children and check child mortality.
The call was made on Monday by the Country Representative of the World Health Organisation, Dr Olushayo Olu, during the opening of a regional meeting that focused on building capacity for healthcare givers on a new immunisation tool.
The meeting is taking place in Kigali.
The new tool, known as Immunisation and the Integrated Management of Child Illnesses, is an interactive training and resource tool designed to build capacity as well as act as reference resource for health workers to update themselves on the latest developments on immunisation practices and integrated management of childhood illnesses.
Olu pointed out that the main causes of child mortality include malnutrition and childhood diseases which include pneumonia, diarrhea, among others, most of which are exacerbated by lack of immunisation.
He said that they work with the government to ensure that they are able to provide access to health care services to everybody including children.
“When it comes to the issue of child mortality, we support the national government to strengthen interventions which are aimed at protecting children by supporting immunisation services, ensuring deliverance of lifesaving services to young children, and also support in the area of nutrition,” he said.
“Immunisation is one of the most cost-effective interventions which can reduce childhood mortality, and this would mean improving the health of children.”
Dr Ferdinand Bikorimana, the in charge of child health at Rwanda Biomedical centre (RBC), said that with the right efforts in immunisation and sensitisation of parents in seeking early antenatal care, a lot will be achieved regarding the health of children.
In Rwanda, the main cause of child mortality is pneumonia but are now encouraging parents to immunise children and this is making a difference, he said.
“The issue of children who die at birth is usually related to babies born prematurely, it is here that we are calling on mothers to go for antenatal care early enough so they can be advised on how to give birth to healthy babies.”
The five-day workshop brought together health officers and child health tutors from medical and nursing training schools from the Republic of Congo, DR Congo, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Sao Tome & Principe, and Sierra Leone.