Child mortality is on decline in Rwanda, but parents are advised to be watchful because respiratory diseases have remained a challenge among infants.
According to the Rwanda Pediatrics Association (RPA), infants would easily lose life to diseases like malaria and diarrhea but strong measures were put in place to reduce the occurrence of death.
Recent figures from the Ministry of Health indicate that infant mortality declined to 50/1000 in 2014 from 107/1000 in 2000 and 60/1000 in 2008.
At the start of a three-day of Pediatricians Regional Conference taking place in Kigali, members of the Rwandan association of pediatricians said that the number of diseases affecting children has reduced, but respiratory diseases are still a threat.
“We did not give much attention to respiratory diseases but today we are registering more cases,” said Dr. Lizine Tuyisenge, the RPA general secretary.
Tuyisenge said that children between one week and five years die of fever, Asthma and cardiac diseases which are among the most common chronic conditions in Rwanda.
In a survey conducted by the Pediatric Department of University Central Hospital of Kigali (CHUK) during a 10-month period, a total of 1254 children were admitted.
Dr. Diane Gashumba, the Minister of Health said that pregnant mothers should acquire knowledge about children’s diseases.
“Mothers need to know basic signs of these diseases. It is important for pregnant mothers to be followed up by doctors until they give birth,” she said.
“For example, there are mothers who do not have basic knowledge on how to use a thermometer.”
Gashumba said, to curb child diseases, medical students should also have interest in enrolling for child medicine. Today, Rwanda has only 70 specialized pediatricians.