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Rwanda, 2 November 2015: UNICEF joins celebrations to mark the Maternal and Child Health Week, together with Global Handwashing Day

By Aimee Naganze

© UNICEF Rwanda/2015

 
2 November 2015, BURERA District, Rwanda – The Ministry of Health, supported by UNICEF Rwanda and partners launched a one-week campaign on maternal and child health complemented with Global Handwashing Day celebration.

These health weeks, integrated with hand washing this year, have been critical to ensure progress in the realisation in Rwanda of children’s rights to health and to the best start in life.

“These campaigns are not just talk or an event but building on a solid foundation of success for better health of children in the country,” said Celine, a girl child from Rubavu district.

Rightly so. Maternal, adolescent and child health in Rwanda have significantly improved during the last decade. This progress is attributed to a strengthened health system and improved access to quality health services underpinned by outreach activities to reach the vulnerable population. Other health education initiatives have complemented to reach the young people, enabling them to make healthy choices, and reducing the incidence of preventable diseases.

However, there is still more to be done. Delivery of quality care for improving maternal and child health was emphasised by James Kamanzi, Acting Director General of Rwanda Biomedical Center. “Rwanda still has a high number of stunted children, which is influenced by different preventable factors that we need to work on,” he said.

The activities during the week will include de-worming of children from 1 to 15 years old, Vitamin A administered to children from 6 to 59 months of age, distribution of folic acid to pregnant women for anemia prevention, sensitization on malaria, good nutrition and family planning.

The aspects of good hygiene as part of the Global Hand washing Day will also be promoted among the communities. “Washing hands with clean water and soap can prevent the death among millions of children around the world, making it the single most cost-effective health intervention to reduce mortality and morbidity. It also significantly contributes to reduction of stunting,” stated Murtaza Malik, UNICEF’s Acting Chief of Child Survival and Development.

The maternal and child health week will be held through 6 November in all 30 districts of Rwanda.

“I encourage the communities to take advantage of this week by availing the services, identifying the challenges and finding solutions to prevent malnutrition and diseases affecting our young ones,” emphasised Aime Bosenibamwe, Governor of the Northern Province.

UNICEF and the UN family is committed to continue supporting the integrated health weeks and the Government of Rwanda’s efforts – to move towards zero preventable deaths in children.

 

 
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