Approximately one third of women in Rwanda still give birth from their homes or with the help of traditional birth attendants.
This was disclosed yesterday by the Maternal Child Health Officer in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Felix Sayinzoga, during a media workshop on safe motherhood and family planning.
Sayinzoga said that despite the introduction of communal health insurance, Mutuelle de Sante, some women still disregard health facilities for antenatal care and child delivery.
He attributed this to ignorance and irresponsibility among some families that fail to procure the health insurance cover.
Sayinzoga urged expectant families to plan ahead of time, urging women to go for antenatal care at least four times during pregnancy, and also give birth from a health facility to avoid complications involving both mother and baby.
He added that other challenges in maternal health, such as women education, is still very low in the country.
"Total fertility rate has been reported to be strongly correlated with the level of education. Women with no education have an average of 2.6 more children than women who have a secondary education or higher," Sayinzoga said.
He also noted the shortage of healthcare staff and insufficient investment in transportation, saying that there are only three ambulances in every district, instead of the required five.
The Chairperson of White Ribbon Alliance, Rwanda, Alphonsine Mukarugema, said that maternal health is a priority which aims at achieving Millennium Development Goal Five.
The alliance is an international coalition which pushes for the safety of pregnant mothers and newborns.