Deliveries at health centres up by 75 per cent – report

Rwanda has made  rapid gains in institutional deliveries for the past years, data obtained by The New Times shows.
Community Health Workers have been credited for encouraging women to deliver at health centres.   The New Times/ File.
Community Health Workers have been credited for encouraging women to deliver at health centres. The New Times/ File.

Rwanda has made  rapid gains in institutional deliveries for the past years, data obtained by The New Times shows.

The findings, released on Tuesday in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia at aw Women Deliver Conference are contained in a study done by the Guttmacher Institute dubbed “Adding it Up: The Need for and Cost of Maternal and Newborn Care—Estimates for 2012.”

The data indicates that institutional deliveries in the country moved from 30 per cent in 2005 to 75 per cent in 2012. The upward trend was attributed to Rwanda’s efforts to decentralise health services by setting up health posts closer to where women live for better access.

“For a number of years there has been a very high level of commitment of the Rwanda Government to reproductive health policies. They are firm on their commitment; health care financing and offering incentives to women which are a great motivation for women to give birth at health centres. I believe other countries could learn from the Rwandan experience,” Susheella Singh, Vice President of Research, Guttmacher Institute said.

Dr Fidel Ngabo, the coordinator of Maternal and Child Health in the Ministry of Health told The New Times in previous interview that the increase is also attributed to the role of Community Health Workers (CHW’s) at the grassroots level that monitor and encourage women to deliver

However, the Guttmacher study found out that there is uneven progress in expanding pregnancy and delivery care in the developing world.  

Each year, an estimated 287,000 women worldwide die from pregnancy-related causes, and approximately three million newborns do not survive past the first 28 days of life.

The majority of the deaths occur in developing countries at or around the time of delivery, and result from treatable conditions that could be prevented with adequate care.

Susheella said only a handful of countries in the poorest regions of the world are on track to meet both Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 4 and 5, which call for reducing child mortality by two-thirds and maternal mortality by three-quarters, respectively, over the period 1990–2015.

The report further showed that in the developing world as a whole in 2012, 64 per cent of women who gave birth delivered in a health facility, proportions were lowest in Eastern and Western Africa at 44 per cent and 47 per cent respectively.

Hitting targets

In the 69 poorest countries, 51 per cent of women gave birth in a health facility, compared with 94 per cent in higher-income developing countries, reflecting wide variations in the adequacy of health systems.

At the conference, Laskhmi Puri, acting head of UN Women, said the linkage between political participation and decision making helps in addressing maternal mortality.

 “Rwanda is an example of that, 56 per cent of women representation in Parliament has helped Rwanda achieve almost all of its MDGs including that relating to Maternal Mortality,”  she said.

Rwanda last year hit the MDG target on child mortality, where the country reduced the death of children under the age of five, from 156 deaths per 1,000 children to 54 deaths per 1,000 children born annually, according to a report by Unicef.

Women Deliver Global Conference is a three-day event with more than 4,000 global leaders and advocates from nearly 150 countries focusing on the health and wellbeing of girls and women with the need to invest in girls and women to encourage development worldwide.

The Guttmacher Institute is a non-profit organisation which works to advance reproductive health. The institute operates in the United States and globally “through an interrelated programme of social science research, policy analysis and public education.

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