The Ministry of Public Service and Labour (MIFOTRA) has moved to implement the “safety and health program” which targets establishing of safety, health, and welfare of workers at places of work.
It was established by MIFOTRA, Rwanda Biomedical Center (RBC), and Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB) and will have employees tested at their workplaces regularly to know their health status. MIFOTRA also targets to establish a government budget to support employees’ medical tests at their works places to improve their health.
“Health and safety should be one of the values at every institution or work. Employers should also be able to protect workers from work-related accidents,” Fanfan Rwanyindo Kayirangwa, Minister of MIFOTRA said.
According to Rwanyindo, having safe and healthy employees should be the employer’s culture in institutions including doing sports and conducting employee medical tests, and testing mental illnesses that has been reported by medics.
He added that employers in several institutions must comply with laws that aim at protecting workers.
According to RBC, the program aims at encouraging employees to conduct regular medical tests, but also prevent diseases and mostly non communicable diseases including cardiac issues, cancer, diabetes, and hypertension among others.
In 2020, the Ministry of Health presented the country’s five-year strategy of tackling non-communicable diseases.
This strategy and action plan detail how Rwanda is fulfilling its commitment to achieving global Sustainable Development Goal 3.4, to reduce premature mortality from non-communicable diseases by one-third by 2030.
The Ministry of Health said it was planning to mobilize $699.1 million in funding from different sources to reduce non-communicable diseases under a five-year strategic plan.
“More than 70 percent of all COVID-19 related deaths are due to non-communicable diseases. People infected with SARS COV-2 are likely to be severely affected or die if they already have an underlying non-communicable disease. We know how to reduce the risks of non-communicable diseases. If we prevent, reduce and treat non-communicable diseases now, we can reduce COVID-19 deaths,” Dr. Daniel Ngamije, Minister of Health said.
The safety and health program started in Rubavu district, Western province, but will be extended in all parts of the country and every institution, according to MIFOTRA.