Rwanda Ministry of Health has partnered with UNICEF to launch “A Thousand Days”, a campaign song for rallying and educating Rwandans on nutritional diet of children, pregnancy breast-feeding and child education.
Selected families from Gicumbi district who were piloted shared stories on the impact of “Thousand Days program” it has had on them.
Beatrice Mukamparirwa who was selected alongside her husband, said that she first heard about the campaign from a local health councilor who had visited their home.
“Before I heard about a thousand day’s campaign, I used to give birth from home, and instead of breast-feeding a baby with only milk, I mixed with water and sugar until the day I left the postnatal period, she narrated.”
She later decided to only breastfeed without adding anything to the milk for six months, as advised by the health councilors.
At the launch, the health minister, Dr. Diane Gashumba, said that while Rwanda has made significant achievements in reducing malnutrition and growth stunting children among children, the campaign is still needed to further reduce the numbers.
“Malnutrition among children is worrying, because even when one child suffers from stunting, the whole country is affected and cannot develop. Stunting does not only hinder the growth of the child as people often think, but also the brain.”
“We want to involve everyone in this program including citizens, officials, and parents so that we can really eradicate malnutrition issues,” she said.
Ted Malyalso, UNICEF Representative to Rwanda, revealed that “Earlier this year, UNICEF’s evaluation office also developed a case study on stunting reduction in Rwanda which showed some interesting findings, including that many stakeholders felt that this campaign had been so successful, that everyone in the country was aware of the importance of the first 1000 days.”
Malyalso lauded partners from the ‘social cluster ministries,’ district leadership and communities for the success of the campaign. He also appreciated the support of local celebrities who produced the Thousand Day Song.
“Special appreciation goes to the artists, Knowless, Riderman, Aline, Tom Close and Makanyaga.”
A Thousand Days campaign was first launched in 2013 with the objective of improving the nutritional status of children under five, safe pregnancy and breastfeeding of mothers.