During the launch of 8 ‘Second Generation’ health posts in Bugesera district on Monday September 9, 2019 at Gikundamvura health post, the Minister of Health, Dr Diane Gashumba hailed the Society for Family Health -Rwanda (SFH-Rwanda) and Abbott for their efforts to supporting and improving healthcare services mainly in hard to reach areas through construction of health posts..
According to Dr. Gashumba, with such support the government has been able to achieve greater success in terms of Universal health coverage and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals-SDGs. Adding that the initiative to have model health posts was initiated by President Paul Kagame. The health posts that will be constructed in each cell will educate the communities on health promotion, disease prevention such as malaria, HIV, malnutrition, promoting hygiene and sanitation, and will also provide antenatal and post care services as well as primary health care, and reduce distance to a health facility to a minimum of 30 minutes walking distance “We cannot develop as a country when people are still taking long distances to seek healthcare services,” she said.
Damian Halloran Abbott’s vice president of infectious diseases in emerging markets and rapid diagnostics said that Rwanda’s model of ‘Second Generation’ health posts is another pace setter in Africa for Universal Health Coverage. “Rwanda is the shining star of Africa, I think the standards and vision of the President and his team of building and working out this capability is the best I have seen in Africa,” he said.
Manasseh Wandera Gihana, the Country director SFH Rwanda says that the new health posts are intended to improve patient outcomes and quality of life, while reducing the workload at higher levels of care, such as health centres and district hospitals. “We are happy that this success is contributing to achievements of the districts and our own as SFH Rwanda but most importantly aiming at government’s major focus in ensuring that every cell in the country has a well-equipped health post,” he said, adding that SFH has already constructed 171 health posts across the country but noted that the launched ‘Second Generation’ health posts are the first of an upgraded model SFH has constructed.
The ‘Second Generation’ Health Posts referred to as ‘Icyuzuzo’ (adding to what exists in health coverage), are a new model for decentralizing health care, being implemented in partnership with the Rwanda Ministry of Health, Society for Family Health Rwanda, and Abbott.
Clementine Nyirabuhoro, a mother of five, a resident Gikundamvura cell where the health where one of the health posts was built says that despite sensitizations from community health workers in their villages, it was difficult to go for treatment due to long distances to Ruhuha health centre, which required walking for at least 2 hours.
“Even when you are sick, you would opt to stay at home because you cannot manage transport to the health centre or walk there. With this new health post, it takes me five minutes to reach, am happy for this,” Nyirabuhoro said.
Both SFH and Abbott conducts training for the health posts operators on budgeting and managing inventory, income and profits to help them (operators) to be profitable. The health posts are privately run under the ministry’s approach of decentralizing health care system.
Four of the eight new health posts will be equipped with maternity wards; the other four, which are closest to existing maternity wards at health centers, will have kits for emergency deliveries.
With such initiatives, Rwanda’s life expectancy increased significantly from 36 years in 1995 to 67 years by 2017 and expanded access to healthcare.
Government’s efforts to invest in the health systems and universal coverage has put the country to 11th out of 51 countries in Africa that are achieving the UNs’ Sustainable Development Goals aimed at improving health, as well as fighting poverty, protecting the environment and reducing inequality.