The echoes of Rwanda’s past resonate with a profound message of resilience and transformation. Emerging from the shadows of a devastating genocide that resulted in the grievous loss of more than 1 million lives, Rwanda has carved a path of recovery that reverberates with hope, resilience, and achievements. Amidst this historical context, the nation’s strides in maternal and child health take on a significant mantle, showcasing the power of renewal. In the last 10 years, Rwanda has achieved notable advancements in reducing maternal mortality rates by 42 percent, lowering them from 487 to 203 per 100,000 live births. And an impressive 93 percent of women deliver their babies in health-care facilities. One of the key elements driving this accomplishment has been the education and training of midwives.

As we close in on the deadline for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2030, it is crucial to evaluate global progress in maternal and child health (MCH) to gain insights into improving health outcomes in local communities. Rwanda stands as a beacon of success, having made remarkable strides in reducing maternal and child mortality rates. In contrast, the United States continues to face challenges in improving outcomes. This essay delves into Rwanda’s achievements and explores the principles and practices that contribute to Rwanda’s progress.

Rwanda has exhibited remarkable progress in maternal and child survival. In addition to reducing maternal mortality rates, according to the July 2013-June 2018 Rwanda Biomedical Report, the country successfully decreased under-five mortality rates by 50 percent, declining from 152 deaths per 1,000 live births to 76. These achievements exemplify Rwanda’s strategic approach to MCH.

Lessons From Rwanda:

  • Trust in Local Practitioners
  • Participatory Approach to Identifying Challenges
  • Humility in Developing Solutions

Read the full article about improving maternal and child health by Agnes Binagwaho and Kevin Kubwimana at Stanford Social Innovation Review.