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Press Release: Rwanda launches a unique intervention “1,000 days campaign in the land of a 1,000 hills” to combat Malnutrition

Kigali, Rwanda, 28 Sept 2013

– The Government of Rwanda has announced the launch of a unique campaign to combat malnutrition with an aim of improving maternal and child health in the country.

Launched by the Right Honorable Prime Minister, Dr. Pierre Damien Habumuremyi, the campaign is dubbed "1000 days" since it involves the 1000 days period - right from pregnancy through to the first two years of a child's life. This period is critical to a child's long-term mental and physical development.

The goal of the campaign is to improve the nutrition status of the vulnerable population - children under five years, pregnant and lactating mothers as well as school going children. It is a National Initiative which will run for an entire one thousand days and is targeted to reach all households in the country.

Malnutrition is a key public health concern in Rwanda. The 2010 Rwanda Demographic and Health Survey results showed that chronic malnutrition or stunting affects 44 percent of children under five years resulting in delayed growth.

According to the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister, malnutrition is clearly an issue of behaviour change where the knowledge, attitudes and practices on maternal, infant and young child nutrition need to be developed and sustained. "Families must understand the importance of good nutrition - appropriate care and feeding practices for children as well as pregnant women and lactating mothers.” Dr. Habumuremyi asserts.

 “It is a not a one day event but a 1,000 days with an event everyday for fighting malnutrition. This campaign after a 1,000 days, we should have a country that doesn’t look like what it is today - when we look at a child.” said Hon. Dr. Agnes Binagwaho, Minister of Health during a recent workshop.

Social mobilisation is one of the key components of the Initiative. UNICEF as part of the One UN has supported a number of components of the campaign including social mobilisation.

“The role of the husbands and fathers are extremely important in ensuring their pregnant wives and their children get the right nutrition during this critical period,” echoed Noala Skinner, Representative of UNICEF Rwanda.

It is believed that investing in better nutrition in the first 1,000 days window will help families, communities and countries to save lives, reduce risk to disease and their related human and economic burden.

For more information, please contact:                                                                                                                                  

Nathan Mugume, Head of Rwanda Health Communication Center
Tel:+250 (0) 788567373; E-mail: nmugume@yahoo.com

Siddhartha Shrestha, Chief of Communication, Advocacy & Partnerships, UNICEF Rwanda
Tel: +250 (0) 788301419; E-mail:  sidshrestha@unicef.org    

 

 
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