Early this week, Rwanda hit its MDG4 (Millenium Development Goals) target on child mortality, according to a report from UNICEF, however it has also registered remarkable progress with MDG5.
Two-year-old Augustin, who is malnourished, eats a peanut paste mix at a UNICEF-supported health centre in DR Congo
MDG5 is about improving maternal health with a target of reducing by three quarters between 1990 and 2015, the maternal mortality ratio and by achieving universal access to reproductive health by 2015.
Dr Fidel Ngabo, the Coordinator of Maternal and Child Health in the Ministry of Health stated that maternal deaths in Rwanda had greatly reduced as well.
“We came from 1071 maternal deaths to 476. Maternal deaths have reduced by 50 percent which is a tremendous achievement. We are still intensifying efforts to ensure that they reduce even further,” he said.
Doctor Ngabo said that more hospitals and maternities are being built to reduce maternal deaths.
He added that more women are also having safe births from health facilities and sleeping under treated mosquito nets. Nearly 7 in 10 deliveries occur at a health facility compared to 5 in 2007-2008.
Dr Ngabo said that Community Health Workers have also helped a great deal as they offer help to pregnant women.
“Community Health Workers have been given phones to call for quick medical intervention and ambulances whenever an expectant mother seems to have complications,” he said.
The Ministry of Health also launched a training program for Traditional Birth Attendants that teaches them basic nursing and midwifery skills, to reduce maternal and child deaths.
The training of the traditional birth attendants in rural areas helped reduce maternal mortality rate.
Doctor Ngabo urged the community to be more involved and participate in issues related to improving their health.
He noted that Rwanda used to have only one training school for midwives, but now has five.