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Basic Health Care Access Critical To Further Reduce Maternal, Newborn Mortality In Rwanda, Worldwide

New Times: Reducing maternal and newborn mortality to advance Rwanda’s future
Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“…New data released this week confirm that Rwanda is making progress battling maternal and newborn mortality. … [The Sustainable Development Goals], which call specifically for further reductions in maternal and newborn deaths, have the potential to accelerate progress even further if we stay focused on what works to save lives. … Simple interventions go a long way. These include exclusive breastfeeding, keeping a newborn’s umbilical cord wound clean and dry to prevent infection, and promoting skin-to-skin contact between newborns and their mothers to regulate the baby’s body temperature and breathing. … Providing women with greater access to family planning and other essential services, as well as nutritious food, can help to ensure that women and their children stay healthy and strong enough to contribute to the development of their families and communities. We also need to help countries strengthen their primary health care systems so that more women and newborns have access to quality services and vital medicines before, during, and after delivery. … If we take these steps, I believe that we can end most preventable maternal and newborn deaths — as well as eliminate the health disparities within and among countries so that every child has the chance to prosper — within a single generation…” (10/21).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.