The First Lady of Rwanda, Mrs. Jeannette Kagame attended the World Innovation Summit for Health in Doha, under the inspiring theme Healing the Future.
Mrs. Kagame, highlighted Rwanda’s progress in having clean streets, beautiful infrastructure, eliminating poverty, implementing gender equality, power and energy sustainable solutions, strong, high-performing institutions, universal healthcare coverage, and becoming the first country in the world to eradicate cervical cancer.
Mrs. Kagame said that despite this progress made in Rwanda and across the world, there were gaps that slide under which makes it hard to attain progress on maternal and child health, is at the core of the critical third Sustainable Development Goal- “Good Health and Well-being”
She said the existent gaps in global health systems are known- that is access inequity, the disparity between funding pledges and the commitments met, the development of a critical mass in healthcare provision in all countries, and this must not slip from anyone’s reach for a day or another year.
With this argument she raised one query on morality to defend dignity of people, holding institutions accountable and putting people at the center of services, saying that if these existed, could the world look at its development, and performances thus far, differently?
“What could be the harm in looking at the world with a different lens today? Why wouldn’t we rethink the systems that have not served us well?” Mrs. Kagame asked during a Maternal and Child health Panel – Developing on Our Commitments.
Specifically focusing on SDG 3.1 or SDG 3.2 in isolation (reduce maternal mortality, end all preventable deaths under five years of age respectively) she challenged the Doha summit to rethink peace.
“I challenge anyone to tell me how without peace and prosperity, without good climate, and with poverty, any mother or child, any individual, any family, any society, is expected to thrive,” she said.
Using Rwanda as an example of a post-Genocide nation, Mrs. Kagame said peace was nonnegotiable ground zero in Rwanda and this is what should resonate so deeply when considering the Sustainable Development Goals as a full picture, especially focusing on issues such as child or maternal health.
Mrs. Kagame, the founder of Imbuto Foundation, which seeks to empower the future of Rwandan youths, hoped that the Doha Meet discussions must remain ever conscious both of the end goal – peace and prosperity – and of the groundwork it requires.
“This is the thought behind my foundation, Imbuto Foundation’s desire for sustainability, our newly established Trust Fund, and the Green Centre that it has in its works. We look forward to what the future holds in this regard,” she said and asked officials to evaluate shortcomings, to question the narratives taken for granted, and recalibrate approaches and strategize accordingly.
On another note, Mrs. Kagame thanked the philanthropic work, and political engagement of Her Highness Sheikha Moza, saying that it will be favoured by history, and valued by generations.