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Health survey shows improved health indicators in Rwanda

According to the recently disseminated 5th Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) by the Ministry of Health and the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda (NISR) with support from UN Agencies and international communities, there has been an overall improvement in Rwanda’s health indicators compared to the previous 4th DHS.

Indicators that showed improvement include but not limited to: fertility levels, family planning, and maternal mortality, HIV/AIDS, breastfeeding practices, sexual activity, malaria, immunization among others.

There was significant reduction in maternal mortality ratio from 1071 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births (lb) in 2005 to 210 maternal deaths per 100,000 lb in 2014/2015.

- Infant mortality reduced from 86 deaths in 2005 to 32 deaths per 1,000 lb in 2014/2015.
- Delivery at health facility increased from 28% in 2005 to 91% in 2014/2015.
- Delivery assisted by a skilled provider wen up from 39% in 2005 to 91% in 2014/2015.
- Reducing the Total Fertility rate from 6.1 children in 2005 to 4.2 children in 2014-2015.
- Decreased to Five Mortality from 152 in 2005 to 50 per 1,000 live births in 2014-2015.
- However, unmet need for family planning stalled at 19% in 2014-2015 while modern contraceptive prevalence rate increased slightly from 45% in 2010 to 47.5% in 2014-2015 among married women and 39% among sexually active Unmarried Women.
- Teenage pregnancy increased slightly from 6% in 2010 to 7% in 2014-2015.
- Total women fertility dropped from 6.1 children per a woman in 2005 to 4.2 children per a woman in 2014/15.

At least 99 per cent of women received Antenatal Care from skilled health service providers (Doctor, Nurse, midwife, medical assistant) with 56 per cent in the first trimester while 44 per cent receive more antenatal visits as recommended.

Speaking during the dissemination event, Dr. Agnes Binagwaho, the Minister for Health reiterated that more efforts require going beyond the figures and dig deep to analyse and address issues from the root causes.

“We need to dig beyond these figures to find whether accessibility to family planning is really there in villages but we should find out why we still have unmet needs for family planning,” said Binagwaho.

Jozef Maeriën the UNFPA Country Representative commended the NISR for the results as necessary data tools for evidence-based decision making and DHS as a necessary tool for improving health services in the country.

“There has been an improvement in most areas such as antenatal care from skilled health personnel, reduction in maternal mortality, decrease in infant mortality, access to health services and we are grateful to be part of this success” Said Maeriën

Despite the positive progress, gaps that need improvement still exist including unmet need for family planning, use of modern contraceptives, teenage pregnancy etc.