Child survival

Child survival & development

UNICEF in action

Key achievements



Key achievements

UNICEF Rwanda/2011/Noorani
© UNICEF Rwanda/2011/Noorani

  • UNICEF strengthened the effective delivery of quality child survival and development services by improving technical, planning and monitoring skills, as well as by increasing coverage for unserved and underserved populations in targeted districts. A total of 348 service providers in 140 health facilities were trained, as well as 5,500 new community health workers from villages in 10 districts.
  • UNICEF supported integrated, evidence-based planning for nutrition in 22 districts, which included the development of an effective tracking system and capacity building for district authorities. As a result, 22 of Rwanda’s 30 districts now effectively coordinate nutrition interventions.
  • In 18 districts, UNICEF supported the implementation of an integrated package of interventions for nutrition, which includes the promotion of growth monitoring and the establishment of kitchen gardens and community saving and lending groups to support caregivers of children under 2 years of age to pursue income-generating activities.
  • UNICEF supported the procurement of therapeutic milk for the treatment of severe acute malnutrition in all health facilities across Rwanda, as well as the provision of vitamin A capsules and deworming tablets for all children between the ages of 6 and 59 months. UNICEF also procured and supported distribution of micronutrient powders for all children between 6 and 23 months in 19 districts – more than 500,000 children annually.
  • UNICEF supported the strengthening of immunization services for children under 2 years of age in all 30 districts. To ensure the safe and effective storage of vaccines, UNICEF also supported the establishment of an effective cold chain system. Measles-Rubella supplementary activities were supported and conducted at national level, with technical and procurement support from UNICEF, reaching 100% of children between 09 months and 5 years.
  • Since 2009, UNICEF has supported RapidSMS, an innovative mobile phone based tracking system that enables community health workers to gather and transmit real-time data on pregnant women and newborns in order to provide timely medical care and effective follow-up. Since its introduction, RapidSMS has been scaled up to all 30 districts in Rwanda and upgraded to cover the critical first 1,000 days across the continuum of care in order to reduce the number of maternal and child deaths and the prevalence of stunting. As of November 2017, more than 735,610 pregnant women and 955,147 newborns have been tracked using RapidSMS.
  • In partnership with professional networks, UNICEF supported Ministry of Health to initiate a new clinical mentorship program aiming to reduce neonatal mortality by improving quality of neonatal care at facility level targeting 18 hospitals and 73 health centres. This clinical mentorship program has started in 3 hospitals and is expected to significantly improve quality of care in the coming years.
  • UNICEF has worked with the Ministry of Infrastructure to update and finalize the National Policies and Strategies for Water Supplies and Sanitation Services.
  • Since 2013, UNICEF has contributed to strengthened service delivery by supporting the Government of Rwanda to provide improved water supply to 295,000 people and sanitation services to 191,450 within communities, and improved WASH services to schools, health centres and early childhood development and family centres. In addition, messages on safe hygiene practices have reached an estimated five million people through mass media campaigns and 738,000 through interpersonal communication. To supplement the media campaigns, more than 9,000 community health facilitators, district officials, school teachers and religious leaders have been trained on hygiene and sanitation promotion, while 2,060 masons were trained on building improved latrines.
  • UNICEF worked with Ministry of Health to strengthen HIV and AIDS response by generating evidence and developing programme strategies and guidelines. As a result, the following strategies and guidelines were developed or updated: The NSP 2013-2018/20 national strategic plans for HIV and AIDS, the 2011-2015 strategy for elimination of mother to child transmission of HIV end term evaluation; operational plan for eMTCT and adolescent HIV and SRH; Early Infant Male circumcision training manuals and national guidelines on HIV prevention care and treatment.
  • The capacity to implement quality care services was strengthened through training of health care workers in 32 health facilities on enhanced monitoring of PMTCT and paediatric care services; use of routine clinical data to assess and improve program performance; and community based peer support groups to follow up and provide psychosocial support to PMTCT clients. This resulted in improved retention of clients within the continuum of care.
  • UNICEF and its partners continued to strengthen the capacity of the health sector to deliver combined HIV prevention services to adolescents in 22 sectors in underserved districts through training of health care providers and community volunteers to provide behavioural change information and services and to create demand for utilization of HIV prevention services. As a result, UNICEF reached 100,000 adolescent girls and boys with information on HIV, sexual and reproductive health, and sexual and gender-based violence prevention. Of this group, 8,600 were tested for HIV, and 5,000 male adolescents were provided with both HIV testing and voluntary circumcision services, which reduces vulnerability to HIV infection.



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