African Journal of Reproductive Health

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A success story: the burden of maternal, neonatal and childhood mortality in Rwanda - critical appraisal of interventions and recommendations for the future

Pari Shanmuga Raman Gurusamy, Priya Darshene Janagaraj


Globally, the burden of maternal, neonatal and childhood mortality is disproportionately shared between the least developed nations and the developed nations. While the global maternal mortality has been almost halved since 1990, 99% of maternal deaths occur in developing regions. This invariably highlights the impact of poverty and, to combat poverty in its different elements, the United Nations (UN) established eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), including improving maternal health (MDG 5) and reducing child mortality (MDG 4). Rwanda is one of the few countries that have met both MDGs 4 and 5 ahead of time. In 2015, the UN established 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a renewed version of targets to be achieved by 2030, including Good Health and Well-being (SDG 3). SDG 3 aims to achieve a global maternal mortality rate (MMR) of 70 or less by 2030, requiring an annual reduction in MMR by 7.5%. Rwanda is on track to achieving its SDG targets with the support of local government, donors, and international and local agencies. The multipronged approach initiated by the Rwandan government, backed by international organizations, is to be credited for this success. Studying these proven strategies and interventions will allow us to identify gaps, further develop and eventually transfer them to the rest of the world, with suitable contextualization.

Keywords: Sub-Saharan Africa, Rwanda, Maternal Mortality, Childhood Mortality, Neonatal Mortality

AJOL African Journals Online