Perinatal Care Program Phase One completed successfully in Rwanda

With UNICEF support, in the past four years, medical staff in selected Rwandan hospitals have significantly improved perinatal care quality and advanced neonatal intensive care capacity

25 September 2021
A nurse tends to prematurely-born baby at Gahini Hospital
UNICEF/UN0319738/Kanobana

Kigali, 26 September 2021. With the funding received from Takeda’s Global CSR Program, UNICEF, in partnership with the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) and the Rwanda Pediatrics Association (RPA), has made great strides in improving quality health services through the completion of phase one of the Perinatal Care Program in health facilities in Rwanda.

In the past four years, medical staff have significantly improved perinatal care quality and advanced neonatal intensive care capacity. The first phase of the program covered 19 Hospitals and 75 health centrers in Rwanda with 18 mentors including 10 international mentors and 8 national mentors made up of obstetricians, midwives, nurses and pediatricians. Each health facility now focuses on improving the quality of care during childbirth, care for premature and sick newborns, and educating expecting mothers on the importance of a healthy pregnancy.

The program involved six months of intensive phase training and mentoring with selected volunteers provided by RCPH and RPA based at the health facilities identifying challenges and ways to deal with them at each hospital where the volunteers were based. After the six months of intensive training, each health facility selected two champions one in maternity and another in neonatology who then carried on with the improvements at each hospital, such as collecting data and quality improvement plans on weekly or monthly basis together with support from RPA.

In addition to knowledge-based training, health facilities that were part of the program received equipment such as continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) and other essential life-saving maternal and newborn equipment. So far, 97 health facilities have received essential maternal and newborn medical equipment and training on their use. The equipment are helping to improve the quality of care in the neonatal and maternity units, especially during resuscitation.

Accordingly, through the program:

  • 153,311 pregnant women and their newborns have greatly benefitted from quality care during childbirth
  • 21,241 neonates have benefitted from resuscitation care
  • 50,294 sick newborns have been admitted and received care in the health facilities that were part of the program

These figures are significant, but with continuing advancements in medical care and the growing need for improved maternal care, the program's continuation will see an increase in those numbers. In turn, the health of pregnant and nursing mothers and their babies will significantly advance. With the significant great results achieved in phase one, the program has proceeded into the second phase.

Media contacts

Rajat Madhok
Chief of Communication, Advocacy and Partnerships
UNICEF Rwanda
Tel: +250 788 301 419
Steve Nzaramba
Communication Specialist
UNICEF Rwanda
Tel: +250 786 384 106

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For more information about UNICEF and its work for children in Rwanda, visit www.unicef.org/rwanda.

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