Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame has been awarded the honor of excellence for promoting Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in his country and becoming a leadership example to the rest of Africa.
Kagame becomes the first person to receive the award which was received on his behalf by the Minister of Health, Dr. Diane Gashumba at the three-day 2nd Africa Health Agenda International conference which started today in Kigali.
African Medical and Research Foundation (Amref) Worldwide presented the UHC Presidential Champion Award to His Excellency Paul Kagame for advancing UHC in Africa.
“This is in recognition of his political leadership and accountability to the achievement of UHC in Rwanda,” said Amref Health Africa Group CEO, Dr. Githinji Gitahi.
The award of a roaring African Lion standing on a pile of high mounted rocks holds symbolic interpretations of the leadership of the lion as seen in the King of the Jungle as depicted in the famous Disney movie ‘Simba-The Lion King’.
At the official event launch, which was held with a new conference perspective of panelist sitting down on the floor, Ethiopia’s Ministry of Health was also awarded for their commitment to promoting primary health care in Africa.
Currently Rwanda is considered among the leading countries in health care promotion and achieving the UHC targets with at least 17% of GDP funding and 90% health insurance coverage.
Only Sudan and Madagascar are among other African countries that have managed to implement the Abuja declaration of 2001 to have all African countries invest 15% of the budgets to UHC.
Rwanda has also been acknowledged by the biggest health funder- Global Fund, for its accountability on funds, monitoring health fund implementation programs and seeking home grown solutions for local funding and achieving donor targets.
This has attracted some significant copying of Rwanda’s methodology from other countries but Dr. Gitahi warns of not duplicating the whole Rwandan health system instead find ways to initiate homegrown health solutions, such as Mutuelle de Santé (Community-Based health Insurance (CBHI).
Health experts from neighboring Uganda said that one thing they are taking from Rwanda is the investment and human resource capacity building, which is needed to improve access to health services.
“Training rural people to provide health services at the community level changes a lot in service delivery. Instead of serving sausages to health workers to do the job in Kigali, it’s better to invest in the community based health workers as is in Rwanda,” said Dr. Bonaventure Ahaisibwe, the Ugandan Country Director for Seed Global Health.
On the other hand, global health private sector players like Strategic Purchasing Africa Resource Center (SPARC), who are exhibiting at the conference plans to launch the Africa operations this Thursday.
The launch will witness SPARC operations in enabling African countries access health and medical equipment as a strategic tool for advancing UHC on the continent.
“Our entry is very strategic for Africa and especially in Rwanda where we have already started a partnership with Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB),” said Andrew Wang, the SPARC program Associate.
This could benefit Rwanda, after as Rwanda’s Biomedical Center proposed a bill to parliament this Monday to establish a separate entity to handle purchasing of medical supplies and medicine.
The bill proposal now under discussion in parliament, comes as a way of resolving the problem of a failed monitoring of medical supplies, despite amalgamation of the former Rwanda Drug, Consumables and Equipment Central Procurement Agency (Camerwa) into RBC in 2011.