Tackling Infant Mortality in Rwanda

In developing countries, 50% of babies born at 32 weeks die due to a lack of support, including support to breastfeed. In developed countries, almost all survive. There is little understanding of the needs of infants and children with feeding difficulties in low-income settings and an absence of expertise to support them. The WHO recognises the need for improving capacity of healthcare workers to improve quality of care for these children.  MAITS has a life-saving Infant Feeding programme which teaches simple techniques to help babies with feeding difficulties linked to premature birth or an underlying disability. Our latest project took place in Rwanda in February 2018 where MAITS Infant Feeding trainers supported local Master Trainers in rolling out the initiative.

The Programme

This is the first time we conducted our life-saving infant-feeding programme as a master training programme in Rwanda. We taught local staff the skills needed to support high-risk infants including those with underlying disabilities and those born prematurely. MAITS trainers provided ongoing clinical supervision for the Master Trainers. We have reached 81 healthcare providers (including 3 local Master Trainers) in 7 hospitals, we have reached over 1400 mothers and babies on neonatal units just between the months of February-September 2018. An average of 50 babies per month in each hospital has been supported by those we trained. Our trainers worked directly with the hospital staff, mothers and babies to provide direct on-the-job training. Additionally, 4 “Expert Mothers” have been trained to provide regular peer support in 2 hospitals. An abstract of the project has been accepted by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) academic journal.