Anglican clergy urged to prioritize maternal and child health, fight teenage pregnancies

Bernadette Ssebadduka, Program Coordinator at UNFPA Rwanda, has called upon clergies of the Anglican Church of Rwanda to prioritize caring for the life of pregnant women and fighting against teen pregnancies.

Ssebadduka made the call on Wednesday while addressing 600 bishops and clergies from 13 Dioceses participating in a three-day conference at East African Christian College in Kabuga, Kicukiro District.

The conference, which runs from November 14th-17th, is held under the theme retrieved from the Book of Matthew 16:18 “…Upon this rock I will build my church.” The event aimed to discuss various issues concerning the development of the church and top pressing issues facing families and was organised by Anglican Church of Rwanda in partnership with Safeguard Young People programme, the Government of the Republic of Korea, Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and UNFPA.

UNFPA Program Coordinator noted that Anglican church has an influence which can be a vital stream to spread information about maternal and child health to many people. He pledged a continuous partnership with Faith-Based Organisations in the journey.

Dr. Annicet Nzabonimpa, the in-charge of Maternal Health Midwifery at UNFPA, applauded Anglican church on promoting health sector by establishing health facilities which deliver service to mothers.

Ahead of the official opening of the conference on Tuesday, Archbishop Dr. Laurent Mbanda, said that the conference was an opportunity for church leaders to remind one another the church’s vision and how they can work together as one.

“It has been five years now without any gathering. This is an opportunity to examine ourselves and monitor the way we serve so that we can thank God and look at what we can improve,” Mbanda added, and that during the conference, top pressing issues facing families such as conflicts, drug abuse among the young generation, and positive parenting will be elaborated.

“Today, families are facing different issues. This is a good time to sensitise the general community to focus on family related issues. For instance, when we focus on improving Early Childhood Development (ECD), we prepare the future generation for a good society,” he added.

Mbanda explained that the church put more emphasis on families because they are pillars of the growth of the church. The church has established mothers’ and father’s unions to empower family members.

Again, the church has worked to ensure self-reliance by investing in holistic ministries to empower its followers spiritually and economically. “A good Christian should be complete in terms of spiritual life, relationship, self-reliance and development, positive parenting, and patriotism. A new creature should be characterised by positive values and vision towards full transformation,”

Archdeacon Jean Baptiste Kabaragasa at Shyira Diocese, is one of the participants. He said that the gathering helps them pray and learn the word of God together.

“Improving people’s welfare is part of our calling; we can’t change one part of the person and leave the other. It’s necessary to come together and sharpen one another to effectively deliver our duties. We will have time to share insights about various topics such as divorce and Gender Based Violence,”

Rev. Canon Patricia Mukamusoni said: “Gender sensitivity is another topic that requires more emphasis regarding church leadership.  Women have the ability to serve the church as men do. We all are called for a mission to serve the Kingdom of God. When you promote a woman, you promote the entire society.”

Archbishop Mbanda announced that the fourth Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) will be held in Rwanda next year in April.