Through the Baho Neza project, SFH Rwanda is supporting access to health care through the construction of health posts at the cell level. Baho Neza is a 3-year countrywide project of the Ministry of Health (MOH) implemented by a consortium of local NGOs aims to achieve an overall increase in contraceptive prevalence and to improve the quality, access and utilization of antenatal care (ANC), post natal care (PNC), services countrywide. Through the Baho Neza project SFH Rwanda will build a total of 233 health posts in 3 years in collaboration with the local administration and the communities under the Public Private Community Partnership (PPCP) model.
Four years ago, Pacifique Umuhoza 32, (a mother of two children) had to walk 10 kilometers to reach a health centre where she was supposed to get family planning services. “It was so difficult since getting transport to the health centre was challenging for us but still I wanted to use family planning methods,” she narrated.
Umuhoza a mother of two shares this ordeal with many women in Mukayange village, Rwimiyaga Cell, Nyagatare district Eastern Province, her fellow women in the village shunned going for family planning services because of the challenges related to distance.
Sifa Kabatesi, the community health worker in charge of maternal and child health, says mothers would not go for family planning services and complete antenatal care checkups due to distance. “Although we would always sensitize mothers about antenatal care and the first 1000 days of a child’s life, they would not go for the services,” she said.
But this scenario has changed in the last two weeks, thanks to the construction of Rwimiyaga health post by SFH Rwanda with the funding support from Imbuto Foundation. Since its opening in the last two weeks, patients visiting the health post moved from 45 to currently 405 with 15 mothers already receiving family planning services.
Umuhoza is among the 15 women that have received family planning services after her second child who is now 3 months.
Elysee Muhungura the manager of the health post says that more people in this area are accessing health care services since they no longer need to walk long distances and pay extra cost in terms of transport
Currently, the health centre treats flu, cough, malaria testing and treatment, poor hygiene related diseases and it offers family planning services.
Celestin Ngabonziza the Executive secretary of Rwimiyaga sector says that health centre has addressed the challenges of lack of access to health services which was affecting the livelihoods of people as most people would not go for treatment when they fall sick.
“Economically, it was affecting our people since it meant more spending to access health services,” he said adding that others would not work since it required a whole day to go for treatment. Drocella Mushirimbere a widow and a mother of four in Kizungu cell in Rwimiyaga says that the health post has helped them especially in providing care to mothers, children and people suffering from malaria.
Elia Kamanzi, Director of health in Nyagatare district says that the SFH contribution of 32 health posts in the district including the recent 23 constructed under the Baho Neza project in the first semester is another step towards the district’s target for universal health coverage. “This is an incredible achievement, if you look at our gaps considering what is suggested by the national health policy,” he said. Statistically, before the SFH contribution, the district in its planning required a decade to achieve the universal health coverage. “As a district we projected looking at our means, how long would it take us to achieve our universal health coverage and we found out that we needed ten or more years,” he noted. “We have seen an uptake increment of 6 percent of the modern family planning methods since the infrastructures were put in place, early last year it was 39 percent but now it is 45 percent and we are on the right track,” he explained.
To reach the national health policy requirement, Nyagatare needs 106 health posts for each cell and the district had 30 health posts as of last year with this year gaining 32 from SFH contribution and more 24 health posts that will be constructed in the second semester. Accordingly, the National health policy says each district should have a district hospital, health centre at a sector level, a health post at administrative cell level.
To ensure sustainability and to safeguard the gains made, SFH trains nurses through the Public Private Community Partnership to manage the health posts Solange Uwimbabazi, a licensed nurse highly appreciates the opportunity given to her by the District of Gicumbi to privately manage Munanira Health post, Rutare Sector. She says she resigned from her job of attending another person’s pharmacy business in Musanze District to grab the opportunity to serve the population.
Uwimbabazi appreciates the opportunity for the training in entrepreneurship skills that she received from SFH Rwanda and is optimistic that she will perform well in the health care business that she has ventured in. She is committed to provide quality services to the people she serves since she well knows they are her clients and she also wants the business to pay her a
good salary in return better than what she was paid at the Pharmacy in Musanze. She appreciates the partnership between the Government of Rwanda, SFH, Imbuto Foundation and other partners, it creates and an opportunity for nurses to serve the community, and providing quality health care services