KIGALI - The Minister of Health, Dr. Richard Sezibera, yesterday informed the Senate that Child mortality rates have significantly dropped.
Sezibera made the remarks while responding to questions raised by the Senatorial Standing Committee on Social Affairs, Human Rights and Petitions regarding the state of health in the country.
Some of the concerns that the Senate had forwarded to the minister included the child mortality rates and population growth, among others.
Available figures indicate that, from 2000 to 2010, the government took significant steps in reducing maternal and child mortality rates.
The mortality rate of children under 5-years fell from 152 in 2005 to 103 in 2008 per 1,000 births, under 1-year mortality rate from 86 in 2005 to 62 in 2008 per 1,000 births while the maternal mortality rate fell by a half from 750 in 2005 to 383 in 2009 per 100,000 births.
The Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 4 sets the target of reducing child mortality at 31 for every 1,000 in 2015.
Sezibera, however, said that there still some challenges that need to be ironed out, including brutal rituals on children.
“Some children die in the process of practicing the rituals and people who conduct such malpractices are not decisively punished, that is why they always go back to the communities and continue with the rituals,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Minister told the senators of the government’s plan of population growth control saying that one of the measures adopted to boost family planning is vasectomy.
According to Sezibera; “Currently, 53 percent of the population use modern family planning methods and our target is to have 70 percent by 2012.”
Sezibera added that the government has put population growth control among its priorities and his ministry has adopted the ‘community based distribution of contraceptives’ as one of the measures for population growth control.