Mothers in Nyarugenge district can be hopeful, now that finding solutions to making long distances, seeking for maternal and child health services is on the right track, thanks to the corporation between the Government of Rwanda and Enabel- the Belgian development agency.
Through direct partnership between Nyarugenge and Enabel, under Barame project, a modern and well-equipped maternity ward has been built at Rugarama Health Centre. The centre is equipped with a new maternity ward and medical equipment.
This is a five-year project (2020-2024), financed to the tune of 18 million Euros, to cater for the needs of adolescents, new-borns, children under five, and pregnant women.
The project is being implemented in seven districts of Rwanda including Nyarugenge district, which received a potion equivalent to Rwf 1 billion.
According to the Director of Nyarugenge district hospital Dr Deborah Abimana, the new facility has helped to reduce distance made by residents to access health services.
She said ‘This hospital ward built through support from Enabel, under the Barama project, coincided with the request from residents to have a nearby health facility. We can now register between 220 and 270 births per month.’
Julienne Kayitesi and Marie Rose Mukankunda, both mothers and residents of Nyamirambo sector, in Nyarugenge district, concur that the new maternity ward, which even has bigger space, will enable complete privacy during labor, unlike before.
The Head Nurse of Rugarama Health Centre Sylvie Mujiji said that the centre has been facilitating not more than five deliveries per day, due to the small size of the maternity room. With the new well-equipped maternity ward, she stated that they have capacity to help 10 mothers give birth at the same time in a day.
For residents in Mageragere and neighbouring areas, this is also good news, because they will no longer travel to the city centre for Malaria, eye and dental treatment, and antenatal services, since services have been decentralised to Nyarurenzi Health Centre.
It is also recorded that at least six mothers have been giving births in their homes every month because of failing to reach Mwendo Health centre, which is the only considered the ‘nearest’.
Dr Janvier Niyongere, the Head of this Health Centre said, ‘Our services are usually offered by one doctor, who only comes twice in a week; regarding maternal and child health services, we have not had any case of maternal mortality.
Niyongere added that Government and other stakeholders have supported in fighting Malaria, where in 2017 the centre received 15,000 patients, compared to present when they are below 200, per year.
Karama Health post, located in Ruriba cell, Kigali sector, is another centre which received a new maternity ward from Enabel.
Although most Health posts have no capacity to offer maternity services, Karama registers 42 deliveries in a month.
Isange One Stop Center
Enabel commended the way Nyarugenge district used support given, to effectively improve the Isange One Stop Centre at Muhima hospital, in response to addressing gender-based- violence.
The Head of Muhima Isange-One- Stop Centre Jeanne D’Arc Uwanyirigira revealed that in the last three months, the centre has received 580 cases, unlike before 2018, when they used to have between 120 and 150 cases.
Uwanyirigira explained that the increase in the number of cases is not due to increased acts of violence, but rather to the fact that people are now aware of the services at the centre, where they are received and counselled in privacy and helped to receive justice.
Sexual and Reproductive Health
Enabel has also supported youth sensitisation on topics meant to educate them about Sexual and Reproductive Health.
Through youth centres like Club Rafiki in Nyamirambo sector and Maison des Jeunes in Kimisagara sector, youth are sensitised about the dangers of sexually transmitted diseases and teen pregnancies.
Diane Ingabire18, one of the beneficiaries of this program said, ‘We are taught about values, abstinence from sex or using a condom, as one of the preventive measures. I would have fallen victim of teenage pregnancy, had it not been the knowledge I acquired here.’
According to Benedicte Briot, the International Technical Advisor for Barame project, the youth had a chance to get access to condoms, in secure and private places, which is commendable. He said that many of adolescents normally shy away from getting condoms from Health centres, fearing to be identified by their family members or other people.
Some achievements through Barame project (2021-2022)
Number of mothers going for antenatal care services in Butamwa Health Centre, increased from 23 per cent to 53 per cent. Antenatal care services having increased from 32% to 44%
GBV cases reported to Muhima Isange One Stop Centre increased from 723 to 997 cases
Number of mothers in Kimisagara sector who embraced family planning increased from 1,642 to 1,749
Antenatal care services at Karama Health post increased to about 73%
Esperance Nshutiraguma, the Deputy District Executive Administrator of Nyarugenge district said, ‘We shall put much emphasis on encouraging youth, to come to the youth centres, get entertained through sports, but also learn about Sexual and Reproductive Health.’
The District Executive Administrator of Nyarugenge Emmy Ngabonziza also commended support from the Belgium government through Enabel project, dubbed “Ubuzima Burambye”, which followed Barame, under which the Health facility was constructed. According to Ngabonziza, their next plan is to seek for more collaboration, in campaigns about HIV/AIDS and family planning.
According to the Resident Representative of Enabel in Rwanda, Dirk Deprez, after the end of their current project in 2024, they wish to continue operating in the seven districts, including Nyarugenge.
Deprez added that in the future, they will put emphasis on several issues, including Sexual and Reproductive Health, Sexual and Gender Based Violence.
Barame project operates in seven districts of Nyarugenge, Rulindo, Gakenke, Gisagara, Karongi, Nyamasheke and Rusizi.