From Prof. Shirley Randell AO, Ph.D
Managing Director of SRIA Rwanda, Ltd.
Strong Hearts, Strong Minds, Strong Women Program
AMIDST GLOBAL TURMOIL FOR WOMEN, GOOD NEWS FROM RWANDA
*Life expectancy of Rwandans has increased by almost 20 years in the last two decades, from 48 to 65 years since 1990, according to the May 2014 World Health Organization World Health Statistics Report. This 17-year increase is the 6th highest leap in the world during that persiod, almost 3 times the average increase, and 3 years more than the global average for low-income countries.
*The Rwanda life span increase is attributed to the sharp drop in child mortality, from 182 per 100,000 children in 2000 to 55, putting Rwanda on track to reach the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of reducing the mortality of children under age 5 by 2/3. The reduction is also attributed to vaccination and prevention programs for the most common life-threatening diseases in young children - treating malaria, diarrhoea, and pneumonia.
*Rwanda has reduced maternal mortality by 3/4. The country is on track to meet the MDG target of 100% of women receiving care from a skilled health professional at least once during pregnancy.
*In Rwanda there are multiple programs to target the nutritional health of pregnant and lactating mothers, and children under 2 years of age, including training community health workers who bring health services closer to the population of Rwanda. They also provide family planning, vaccinations, and HIV testing.