UNICEF supports health campaigns for improved child survival in Rwanda

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KIGALI, 17 December 2009 - During the launch of two campaigns to improve environmental health and sustain child survival in Rwanda, over 140,000 women and children in 85,000 households will benefit from long lasting impregnated malaria nets - and families will be sensitized nation-wide on improved sanitation and hygiene practices.

These campaigns, organized by The Ministry of Health have two-pronged objectives. The emergency distribution of malaria nets in Nyagatare and Gatsibo districts aims to save the lives of hundreds of women and children, in response to increased malaria occurrence observed by the Rwandan malaria surveillance system.

The week long 'National Hygiene and Sanitation' campaign aims to improve the health of the population, including school-children, through behaviour change, focused on improved hand-washing, enhanced personal and toilet hygiene and improved food safety practices.

"These campaigns underscore the importance of sustaining gains achieved in child survival but at the same time ensure key challenges, such as hygiene, continue to be addressed," said UNICEF Representative, Joseph Foumbi.

Working in partnership with the Ministry of Health, the United Nations, World Bank and development partners, UNICEF, as part of the UN in Rwanda, has contributed over 170,000 malaria nets to the emergency campaign - and contributed both financial and technical support to the roll out of communication materials for The 'National Hygiene and Sanitation Week'.

In Rwanda, one out of every ten children continues to die before their fifth birthday, mostly from preventable causes such as pneumonia, malaria, diarrhea and chronic malnutrition. Despite this, in recent years, Rwanda has documented dramatic progress in child survival, most notably in reducing the number of children who become ill or die from malaria and through the expansion of nation-wide immunization coverage.


UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world's largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

For more information please contact:

Misbah M. Sheikh, Chief of Communication, Tel + 250 788 300 731, Email:
Alexandra Williams, UNICEF External Relations, Tel + 250 526 108, Email: