Rwanda: Govt Seeks Partnerships to Roll Out More Youth Centres

Mother and healthy baby in a family planning clinic in the Oromiyaa region of Ethiopia.

Among the services delivered at the youth centres include skills that help the youth to fight unemployment as well as some health services such as information, especially on reproductive health and HIV prevention.

The Ministry of Health will collaborate with more partners to increase youth centres across the country as it intensifies efforts to ensure that young people have easy and full access to reproductive health services.

This was revealed yesterday as the Ministry of Health held a meeting with 350 youth from 20 countries ahead of the second edition of the Africa Health Agenda International Conference. The three-day meeting, which starts tomorrow, will discuss Universal Health coverage.

Based on some indices like Community Based Insurance and health services given to Rwandans as a basic human right, Dr Diane Gashumba, the Minister for Health, said that Rwanda is on the right track to achieving universal health coverage.

However, there was need to make some health services more accessible to young people.

"We want to increase this partnership. We now have 32 youth centres and we still have some districts which don't have them. We want to increase the number of these centres to help the youth have easy and full access to these specific health services, especially concerning reproductive health," she said.

Among the services delivered at the youth centres include skills that help the youth to fight unemployment as well as some health services such as information, especially on reproductive health and HIV prevention.

Dr Githinji Gitahi, the Chief Executive Officer of AMREF Africa, a health organisation working across Africa, said health achievements are not even across the continent and that each country has its own culture and norms, which influence health systems.

"We are asking ourselves the question of how young Africans who are the leaders of the future, as the majority people in this continent, how are they participating in making sure the universal health coverage is achieved and how is it responsive to the needs of this part of people, especially concerning reproductive health rights and access," he said.

There is a necessity to identify the needs of young people and make sure they are included in making universal health access possible and that they are benefitting from it, he added.

Magnifique Irakoze, a medical doctor in Rwanda, said any decision or policy to be taken at any level should be implemented by the youth in order to raise their participation in policy formulation as early as possible.

"Young people don't get sick easily but if they don't take care of their health during their younger age, they can't fulfil the roles they are given in the future," he said.

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