Musanze, March 7, 2021. Under the leadership of the Ministry of Health, Rwanda Biomedical Centre has worked with districts to implement the first decentralized and district-led Child Week campaign for sustainability of health interventions from 22nd February to 07th March 2021.
Usually the Mother and Child Health Week is organised at the national level, but due to COVID-19 pandemic local authorities have been tasked with organizing this week, visiting children at schools, parents and young children at home.
At the village, in Muhoza sector, Musanze district, Community Health workers are walking in the village, , not only providing Vitamin A, Deworming tablets, Ongera micro nutrient and screening of malnutrition; but also briefing parents on prevention of diseases related to poor water, sanitation and hygiene including Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs); maternal and child nutrition; malaria; prevention of malpractices on children: guca ibirimi, gukura ibyinyo etc.
Kamanzi Axelle, the Vice Mayor in charge Social Affairs in Musanze district said they are pleased to have an unprecedented opportunity to prepare for the Health Child Week.
“When we got informed that we were going to organize the Child Health Week, we immediately organised meetings at the District and Hospital levels, and then we held a meeting with the heads of health centrers and sector leaders using the Webex channel, we discussed about the implementation modalities and the tools to be used. ” Said Kamanzi.
Kamanzi Axelle, the Vice Mayor in charge Social Affairs in Musanze district
The Vice Mayor Kamanzi added that the heads of health centres collected drugs and products ahead of time. They held a last meeting two days before the launch of the campaign to assess the level of preparedness. Now the service has come closer to the citizens; therefore, it becomes easier for the citizen to get services at his/her home.
The Vice Mayor requested the leaders in the Ministry of health and RBC to involve leaders at the decentralized level in different health projects for ownership and sustainability by decentralized entities.
Mrs. Kamanzi said, “This year, we were involved in preparation for the campaign activities, which made the work easier for us to implement this community based interventions focusing on our specific context.”
As regards to challenges, the Vice Mayor explained that in her district, it is hard to find some residents at home because, during the day, they are busy with their daily activities.
“ We are working door to door here in town, some parents are not at home during week days and end up missing education messages on child growth and development; there is a need for increasing more days for this campaign to reach the high number of beneficiaries, in towns, who are mostly available in weekend.”
Rwanda has committed to eliminate diseases related to poor hygiene including intestinal worms, schistosomiasis, jiggers and Podoconiosis by 2024, and reduce stunting among children under five. It aims to reduce stunting from 33% to 19% by 2024 and plans to reduce intestinal worms among school age children from 45% in 2014 to below 20% by 2024.
Community Health Workers conduct growth monitoring