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Give every mother and child a chance

BUJUMBURA, BURUNDI, 7 April 2005 – World Health Day 2005 focuses on the health of mothers and children, and on the World Health Report 2004 release. 

Today, at the Murama Health Centre, Muyinga Province, the Obstetric Emergency Care Project comprising a referral system, a food supplementation project for pregnant women, and the introduction of the new vaccine “Pentavalent”, was the subject of an important ceremony to launch World Health Day 2005 in the presence of Mr. Domitien Ndayizeye, President of the Republic of Burundi.

On this day, April 7, people in Burundi and the world at large stand up to fully mobilize all energies and goodwill for every mother and child to fully enjoy their fundamental right to health.  

Too many mothers and children suffer and die from preventable diseases, malnutrition or even lack of healthcare. More than half a million women die every year during pregnancy or childbirth. Every year, over 10 million children below the age of five are victims of a silent tragedy.

Out of every 1,000 live births, 190 children below the age of 5 die every year in Burundi. They die of malaria, acute respiratory infections, diarrhoeal diseases, malnutrition, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, measles and paediatric meningitis. Of the close to 300,000 children born every year, more than 57,000 do not live to the age of 5 due to these same reasons. Out of every 100,000 live births, 1,000 women die from childbirth or its related complications.

We are only one decade away to attaining the Millennium Development Goals adopted by the international community. During the Millennium Summit, emphasis was put on the need to increase efforts towards reducing maternal mortality by three-quarters and under-five mortality by two-thirds by 2015.

World Health Day is an opportunity for each and everyone of us, actors, stakeholders and decision-makers, to assume our responsibilities in preserving the life and health of every mother and child. It is also an opportunity to salute the initiatives of institutions and organizations operating in Burundi, as well as the unfailing commitment of donors. This day marks a decisive turning point in the management of pregnant women’s health. On this day, the President of the Republic announced the principle of general access to obstetric services, and more particularly, emergency obstetric services. During this transition period towards development, the Government will set up a health system to facilitate access to healthcare for all pregnant women.

In order to improve the management of obstetric emergencies, a referral health system will be set up within the framework of the Maternity at Lower Risk Project of the National Programme for Reproductive Health. After its success in Karuzi, this system will be implemented in Muyinga and Makamba, in collaboration with WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA and other partners. It will enable provincial health centres to make calls by radio to the hospital maternity in cases of obstetric complications that require transfer for emergency intervention.

A pilot project for pregnant women’s food supplementation will be implemented in Makamba, Kirundo and Muyinga. 300,000 pregnant women will benefit from a global and integrated management intervention. They will benefit from a monthly take-home nutrition ration, given on the day of consultation, as well as iron folate complements to fight against anaemia, pills to treat intestinal worms, impregnated mosquito nets against malaria, family planning counselling, and an appropriate medical assistance provided through the “referral” project. This project will be executed in collaboration with WHO, UNFPA, UNICEF and WFP which has just launched a food programme for 23,000 pregnant and nursing mothers. 

Within the framework of the Extended Programme on Immunization, the Pentavalent vaccine in a single injection will be used in health centres across Burundi. 300,000 children will then benefit every year from a complete vaccination dose against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping-cough, hepatitis B and haemophilius influenzae type B, all this in addition to the customary vaccines such as BCG, and vaccines against measles and poliomyelitis.

For a stable and sustainable development, TOGETHER, let us give every mother and every child a chance !

For further information, please contact:

WHO Burundi:  Marc Nkunzimana, tel (257) 231 702, mobile (257) 858 665, nkunzimanam@usan-bu.net

UNICEF Burundi:  Barbara Jamar, tel (257) 226 888, mobile (257) 994 717 bjamar@unicef.org

WFP Burundi:  Isidore Nteturuye, tel (257) 223 072, mobile (257) 910 295 Isidore.Nteturuye@wfp.org

UNFPA Burundi:  Séraphine Manirambona, tel(257) 223 098, mobile (257) 839 533 manirambona@undp.org


 

 

 

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