World Vision in partnership with the Rwandan Government through the ministry of health (Minisante) yesterday launched an advocacy campaign that aims to contribute towards the reduction of the under-five mortality rate in Rwanda, from 76 deaths to 50 deaths per 1,000 live births by the end of year 2015.
Launched in Rutsiro district of the Western province, the three-year project will initially benefit four districts of Kayonza, Gatsibo, Karongi and Rutsiro.
Child Health Now Campaign (CHNC) is one of the fulfillments of World Vision's calling and mandate to ensure that children experience life in all its fullest. The campaign is supposed to contribute to Millenium Development Goals numbers 4 and 5 which aim to reduce child mortality and reducing maternal mortality ratio by three-quarters between 1990 and 2015.
According to World Vision national Director George Gitau, the annual global deaths of children under the age of five in 2011 were 6.9 million, which is a 42 per cent reduction from 12 million child deaths in 1990.
"That decrease in child deaths is the result of a joint effort by international bodies and committed countries such as Rwanda, that has strived to reduce under-five mortality rate from 156 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 54 deaths per 1000 live births in 2011, as well as the application of new and more effective technologies and treatments," said Gitau.
However, this is still short of MDG number four which aims to reduce child morality by two-thirds between 1990 and 2015. "Behind these statistics are real children and mothers, whose deaths are from preventable causes. This is unacceptable. Together we can prevent it."
During the launch, WV inaugurated the Gitwa health post located in Mushubati sector of the Rutsiro district, a hope center which is supposed to host the local youth and women to learn about health issues, and five centers where the Rutsiro community will learn through community health workers, to prepare a balance diet. All the above were constructed by WV and given to the district officials for management. The community health workers have been trained by WV towards preparing a balance diet.
The mayor of the Rutsiro district, Gaspard Byukusenge said that the district commends what WV has done for them, among others, 45 cows provided, a 6 kilometers water pipeline, a green house, 7,500 iron sheets provided in 'Bye Bye Nyakatsi' program, and solar energy to 4 local schools and 1 health center.
Agnes Nyiramisago, a local citizen, testified that the construction of Gitwa health post was a blessing for them.
"I have 6 children. Four of them were delivered home due to the fact that the nearest health center was Mushubati, located at a three-hour walk from, my village." As the health post is operational, Nyiramisago has delivered her two last children there, after a follow up by the health post staff.
"Children are the future of this country. We cannot allow to lose even one of them, we should strive and fight with all our forces to make sure that they have the same chance as we did, of living their lives in the fullest," said Dr Nepo Sindikubwako, a member of parliament (senate) who officiated the launch. He further stressed that the well being of Rwandans is not limited on years of age. "It's unacceptable to see that so many children still die each year when effective, affordable interventions exist to prevent most of these deaths."
CHNC aims to call on governments, communities and supporters to play their part in global movement that ensures children have good access to nutritious food, clean water, and life-saving services.