This initiative aims to enhance the likelihood of mothers giving birth to healthy babies without malnutrition issues. Dr. Nsanzimana explained, "It will reduce the risk of a child being born underweight, or being born prematurely, which also has a major impact on the child’s stunting."
This announcement took place in the context of additional measures introduced to combat diseases in the Ngororero region. As part of the effort to address obesity, young people are encouraged to improve their diet, ensuring their health during pregnancy. This initiative aligns with Rwanda’s goal of reducing child stunting from 33% (as per the 2020 Health and Social Survey data) to less than 19% by 2024.
The fight against tuberculosis is also emphasized, with a shift in focus towards caring for newborns and protecting fetuses. In response to perceived inadequacies in existing health institutions, new strategies against stunting are being implemented. These strategies involve increased efforts to prevent stunting before conception and during pregnancy.
The innovative approach, known as Antenatal Multiple Micronutrient Supplement (MMS), is a novel system globally. Minister Nsanzimana highlighted that pregnant women will now receive a dose containing 15 vitamins and minerals, a significant increase from the previous two-nutrient standard. The program will commence in regions with higher poverty rates, including Rutsiro, Rubavu, Nyabihu, Ngororero, Musanze, Burera, and Gicumbi.
Special attention is given to the youth, recognizing their role in combating obesity and promoting future parental health. Minister Nsanzimana stressed the importance of preparing young adults for parenthood by encouraging healthy dietary habits.
He emphasized the comprehensive approach, stating, "It will go hand in hand with the supplements they receive during pregnancy—all that put together will help us fight malnourished babies. It’s like reaping what we sow, when the child is born, unlike when there used to be a lot of effort put in when the child was already born."
The guidelines underscore the importance for young people to avoid excessive alcohol consumption, as well as foods and drinks high in salt, sugar, and fat, while emphasizing the consumption of vegetables and fruits from a young age.