Rwanda has launched a Child and Adolescent Health Week Campaign aimed at educating adolescents on reproductive health and drugs abuse. The week-long event will be merged with vaccination campaign against cervical cancer as well as other special activities that target children and adolescents wellbeing, throughout the country.
The Ministry of Health will roll out the vaccination against cervical cancer and the provision of mabendazole—a de-worming medication—to infants. 4,167,713 children and 1,500,754 adolescents.
Rwanda Health Minister, Dr. Agnes Binagwaho who launched the campaign said that at the end of the vaccination campaign, Rwanda can possibly be the first country in the world to fully mitigate cancers among women.
“If we manage to immunize all our girls, we can mitigate the cervical cancer almost by 91 per cent. Young girls who receive the three injections of the vaccine are protected more than 90 per cent against the cancer which is ranked as the leading cause of deaths among women between 15 and 44 years in the country, according the World Health Organization,” Binagwaho said.
Other activities of the Child and Adolescent Health Week are sensitization of schools on menstruation hygiene management, sensitization on hand washing with soap for preventing the hygiene-borne diseases, increase of community awareness about the non -communicable diseases as well as educating adolescent girls on health, focusing on decision making on mental health issues, economic aspects and reproductive health among others.
Rwanda has a relative young aged population. From an estimated 12million people, 45 per cent of Rwandans are under 18 years. Reproductive behaviour among the youth has become a great concern among Rwandans and the ministry of health and its partners has embarked on strengthening reproductive health education countrywide.
UNFPA Country Director, says that there is need to influence youth to access family planning and integrating sexual reproductive health services for young people by creating youth friendly health services and developing national norms and standards that offer quality services appropriate to young people’s needs.
Consequently, UNFPA has set its focus on collaborating with health establishments such as the Rwanda Biomedical Center (RBC) to develop youth friendly health services in most district hospitals.