Our country has achieved commendable decrease in maternal mortality. Reports show we are down 30 percent; it indicates that this year we have lost a hundred mothers as compared to last year’s 2875 for the same period.
This translated, means we have less women dying during child birth than in previous years. But before we hit the celebration trumpet we need to rethink and discover what set us on course to address this silent emergency, because flashy statistics can no longer cut it, or call us into a halt, a reduction is remarkable, yes, but it should propel us to say no more, that we will not be satisfied by just one death a year because it used to be a thousand. We shouldn’t permit even one death; we can’t allow death to take over birth.
There are policies, plenty of them at that set to guide us to a unified achievement of zero maternal death. However, the policies can be let to politicians, ministers and leaders to push for implementation; it calls for ownership at every person’s level.
It calls for all Rwandans to stand up and say ‘I care’ and ‘I am willing to stop the cycle’. We must all stand up for our women by reporting all maternal deaths and ensuring that maternal audits are all accurate for the problem to be highlighted and preventive measures taken.
A pregnant woman has to be a societal concern just as it always was. She needs to call us all into action because her life just as the one of the one she carries is important. We the community owe her the safest birth possible.
The thought that makes us allow her to cut in line in a bank or at an ATM because she is pregnant should propel us to initiate community based maternal health campaigns that will allow for her safe delivery.
I am calling on to all Rwandans to action aimed at curbing maternal mortality; gender based violence, and restricted access to health services, any other cultural activities that continue to put women life at risk.
Women’s health is a fundamental right, one that should ensure their treatment and access to drugs and this encompasses having the best care available for them, particularly in child birth.
We have talked countless times on women health as a prerequisite for development, because we realise, yes, there can never be development if women health issues are not addressed. However, it’s time we highlighted the issue for what it is.
We can’t talk of progress or development if it does not translate to better life of our women and children. If the statistics of mothers’ deaths are still in hundreds in six months, then the problem is still big.
To champion for the for the implementation of policies and promises made to women regarding their health, Africa Union launched ‘Campaign on Accelerated Reduction of Maternal Mortality in Africa (CARMMA)’ during the 59th WHO health summit held in Kigali. According to statistics availed by the AU, over the next ten years there will be 2.5 million maternal deaths, 49 million maternal disabilities in Africa if urgent actions are not taken.
At the launch of CARMA, Commissioner Social Affairs at the AU, Bience Gawanas, said that Africa needs to show women that they care by stopping preventable deaths.
“CARMA is about translating plans, policies and strategies.
We have talked over the years and now we are calling for action. Through CARMA, we will use all advocacy tools and platforms to make sure that maternal mortality is visible in Africa.
It’s time for Africa to say that we are ashamed that though there are prevention measures, we have not prevented women from dying while giving life,” Gawanas said.
She said that it is regrettable that women continue to die out of preventable causes, and hence Africa must now recommit to highlight and address the issues that still hinder maternal safety; each country must use all its resources and people to drive the set policies home, to preach the message of respect and dignity, respect and safety for all women.
Here, in Rwanda, we can do it.