Rwanda tops region in infant, maternal health

Rwanda has been ranked top in the Eastern Africa by the Partnership for Maternal, New born and Child Health (PMNCH), in the fight against child mortality and maternal deaths.
Dr Flavia Bustreo saluted the country for promoting infant and maternal health.
Dr Flavia Bustreo saluted the country for promoting infant and maternal health.

Rwanda has been ranked top in the Eastern Africa by the Partnership for Maternal, New born and Child Health (PMNCH), in the fight against child mortality and maternal deaths.

Speaking to The New Times, Dr Flavia Bustreo, the organisation’s director, attributed the country’s success to political commitment towards eliminating child and maternal mortality.

“Rwanda is a country that has demonstrated the will to protect the health of women and children; one can only highlight the tremendous progress that it has made in the region and on the continent,” she said.

The country, according to a 2010 Countdown to 2015 report, has between 2000 and 2008, experienced one of the highest average annual rates of reduction in child mortality”.

“With mortality decreasing at a rate of 6.3% every year, Rwanda has positioned herself to achieve Millennium Development Goal,” She told The New Times in interview from Geneva.

“Rwanda is also indicated in a new study by the WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA and the World Bank as having one of the largest declines in maternal mortality with a reduction on maternal deaths by 51% between 1990 and 2008,” Bustreo added.

She stressed that she is optimistic that President Kagame’s pledge in fighting infant mortality rate and increasing health sector spending are key factors in eliminating the problem.

“President Kagame has taken the lead on the initiative committing the required financing.  In late September, at the launch of the United Nations Secretary General’s Global Strategy on Women’s and Children’s Health, he committed to increasing health sector spending from 10.9% to 15% by 2012.  The setting of strong objectives and tangible deadlines is crucial for the improvement of health outcomes for women and children,” she added.

The PMNCH head appealed to other countries to imitate Rwanda’s experience to improve the health of their citizens as well as MDGs implementation programmes.

“A lot can be learned from the Rwandan experience as far as reducing mortality rate and maternal deaths is concerned so I do commend the Rwandan Government for its progress and exhort it to continue to work hard to improve the health of its women and children”.

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