The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda: U.S. Scholar Gets Rwf20 Million to Boost Maternal Health

Kigali — With an aim of accelerating achievement of Millennium Development Goal 5 which seeks to improve maternal health, Dr. Lisa Marie Nathan, a US medical expert in women's health, has been awarded a grant worth Rwf20.4m ($36,000) to promote this need in Rwanda.

According to a statement, the Fulbright Scholar research grant will allow the obstetrics and gynaecology specialist to significantly determine the effectiveness of mobile reproductive health care teams versus community-level birth services in rural areas of Rwanda.

"Encompassing 50 villages in the Kibogora area, her research will impact a population of 29,000 people and is being conducted in conjunction with the National University of Rwanda, the local health leadership and Women's Equity in Access to Care and Treatment (WE-ACTx)," the statement quotes.

Nathan, who is also the Rwanda Project Director for the Global Women's Health and Primary Care Program in the department of obstetrics, gynaecology and women's health at the Einstein and Montefiore Medical Centre in the US, said it is a dream come true.

"It has been our team goal of to bring these much-needed services to the region and provide a study that will lay the groundwork for improving health outcomes.

"The fact is that many Rwandan women are dying during childbirth and, in many cases, these tragic deaths are preventable," the expert said in a statement.

As regards the interventions to curb these death rates, the concept note states that Nathan together with a team will create a birthing centre at one post, provide mobile birthing services at a second post, and monitor a third post.

At the end of the evaluation period, the team hopes to determine which of the methods most significantly reduces maternal morbidity and mortality.

Nathan is one of approximately 1,100 U.S. faculty professionals who will travel abroad through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program in 2009-2010.

This Program offers opportunities for American scholars and professionals to conduct research, lecture, and consult with other scholars and institutions abroad.

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