News note: KOICA provides UNICEF $4.5 million for innovative technologies to save lives of new born children and mothers in Rwanda
Kigali, 7 August 2013 –TodayUNICEF Rwanda,the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and the Government of Rwanda reached a new agreement to improve maternal and child care through using RapidSMS technology to track pregnant women and babies and consequently reduce maternal and new-born deaths and stunting in Rwanda.
The Korean Government through KOICA signed $4.5 million partnership agreement with UNICEF for a three-year programme to save lives of children and mothers in 10 districts of Rwanda. KOICA Country Representative Kim Sang-Chul and UNICEF Representative in Rwanda Noala Skinner signed today an accord in the presence of H.E. Minister of Health Dr. Agnes Binagwaho and H.E. Ambassador of the Republic of Korea, Soon-Taik Hwang and the UN Resident Coordinator Lamin M. Manneh.
With the support from KOICA, UNICEF will work with the government of Rwanda in its efforts to scale up and enhance maternal, newborn and child health interventions as envisaged in the country’s second Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS II) and Rwanda Vision 2020. This technology use is a boost for the Government’s effort to fast-track the reduction of maternal and newborn deaths towards the achievement of MDGs by 2015.
“We are very pleased to have a partnership with UNICEF for this project. I believe it will contribute to Rwandan people’s health, especially mothers and newborn children. Mothers and children are the future of the country. I think we are not just supporting to save lives but to invest the future of Rwanda”, stated Kim Sang-Chul, Rwanda Resident Representative of KOICA during the signing ceremony today.
More specifically, KOICA’s support will help UNICEF and the Government of Rwanda to enhance safe motherhood for over 140,000 mothers with new borns and to detect early signs of stunting for over 250,000 children aged under two and treat them. Also, the programme will ensure effective tracking and provision of child health services including immunization and community case management for under five children across the country. They will be identified through RapidSMS mobile technology that enables health workers to detect, monitor and offer interventions to prevent child development deprivation during the first 1000 days of life.
Additionally, over 8,000 community health workers will be trained in the use of RapidSMS technology and community-based health interventions, which will enhance their skills to track and respond to the needs of pregnant women, new-borns and young children and effectively manage the main child killer diseases - malaria, pneumonia and diarrhoea
Rwanda has the best record in reducing child mortality in East and Southern Africa. However, in order to sustain and secure further gains in child survival and development, Rwanda is harnessing new technologies and innovations to reach mothers, new borns and young children across the country.
“We have made a lot of progress by reducing the deaths of children under 5 by half and on are track to achieve MDG 4 and 5. We will continue to work hard until no child dies due to diseases which are preventable and curable. And technologies like Rapid SMS will help to further accelerate progress”, said Dr. Agnes Binagwaho, Honourable Minister of Health at the signing ceremony.
The support pledged during the ceremony will make a significant difference in the lives of women and children in the northern districts of Rwanda, namely Musanze, Nyabihu, Ngororero, Nyanza, Rubavu, Rusizi, Nyamasheke, Kirehe, Burera and Nyaruguru.
"Today marks a new phase in the progress made by the Government of Rwanda to fast track improved child survival and development with the use of technology and innovation. A new bar has been reset with higher targets where technology will accelerate reduction of maternal and newborn mortalities. Thank you KOICA for your confidence in what Rwanda is doing, and for helping us to take innovation to new heights”, stated Noala Skinner, UNICEF Representative in Rwanda. “This is a significant moment. The results will speak for themselves”, she added.
For further information, please contact:
KeunjiYu, Program coordinator, KOICA Rwanda,
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