The New Times (Kigali)

21 May 2011

Rwanda: Envoy Highlights Achievements in Health

Geneva — Rwanda's Ambassador to France, Jacques Kabale, has highlighted the tremendous achievements the country has achieved in the health sector.

He was giving the keynote speech at the 64th World Health Organization (WHO) summit currently taking place in Geneva, Switzerland.

The envoy noted that under the committed leadership of the government, the country had accelerated progress in maternal and child health as well as non communicable diseases.

"Key interventions like the introduction of the community health workers programme and expansion of community health insurance (mutuelles de santé) to the entire population have increased maternal health services coverage and by 2010, health insurance coverage had increased from three percent in 2002 to 92 percent in 2010," Kabale explained.

"The implementation of the performance based strategy or Contractual Approach has also given excellent results in increasing the quantity and quality of preventive health care and curative services offered to citizens," he added.

Kabale emphasised that the decentralisation policy which is being implemented in the country has significantly promoted ownership and effective participation of the population in decision-making, enabled efficient use of funds and increased service demand.

"The government has also put emphasis on the integration of maternal and child health with other health services such as immunisation services, family planning, nutrition and HIV / AIDS care"

"Note that Rwanda, since November 2010, provides ARV triple therapy prophylaxis to all HIV-infected pregnant women starting at 14 weeks of pregnancy," the Ambassador said.

Recently, Rwanda was ranked by African Health Alliance 15%+ as a leading African country for allocating a high percentage of its domestic budget to the health sector towards achieving MDGs and African priorities.

In relation to the summit's theme which focuses on combating non communicable diseases, Amb. Kabale said Rwanda had also taken a major step in vaccinating girls aged 10 to 14 years against HPV, the virus that causes cervical cancer.

"It is also planned that from September 2011, Rwanda will conduct the cervical cancer screening in all women aged 35-45 years. The ban on smoking in all public places is also a reality in Rwanda," he added.

Other government officials representing the country at the summit include the Coordinator of maternal and child health Dr Fidele Ngabo, Dr Jean Pierre Nyemazi from the Ministry of Health and Alphonse Kayitare from the Embassy of Rwanda in Geneva-Switzerland.

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