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US Agency Commits $25 Million To Boost Rwanda Health Sector

by Daniel Sabiiti
9:48 am

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Rwanda has announced the extension of funding to boost the Rwanda Integrated Health Systems Activity (RIHSA) project that ends this month.

The announcement of just under $25 million in funding will be injected into the Health Systems Strengthening (HSS) NEXT Activity program that will embark on the achievements of the previous three-year $ 9.8 million RIHSA program in April 2020 and ends June 2023.

The RIHSA program was focused on integrating the data, information, and financial systems in the health sector, and had two objectives; increased financial protection and increased access to quality healthcare services (in accordance with the national health facilities accreditation system).

In those three years, the financing intervened in the area of  the domain of financial management of health facilities and Community-Based Health Insurance (CBHI), improvement of health service delivery including the expansion of involvement of the private sector.

RIHSA also improved a series of digital solutions that have greatly enhanced the health system functioning in Rwanda.

For example, this saw health insurance coverage reach 90.4% in 2023 compared to 80% in 2019/20 when the program started, a 45.7% increase in CBHI revenues, a 10.7% decrease in CBHI billing discrepancies, and a reduction in delays for CBHI district reimbursement from 91 days to 41 days.

Financing resources increased from Rwf189billion in Fiscal Year(FY) 2016/17 to Rwf260billion in FY2022/23.

At the Closing Ceremony held in Kigali this June 8, 2023, USAID Mission Director for Rwanda, Jonathan Kamin said that the new activity will support the vision of strengthening the existing health systems towards 2030.

Kamin said that this will especially attain three overarching health system goals of equity, quality, and resource optimization through a focus on supporting the Rwanda government to strengthen health systems functions, financing, leadership, management, and governance.

Dr. Solange Hakiba, the RIHSA Chief of Party said that as a result of these efforts, Rwandans are more satisfied with the quality of health services received, more Rwandans have enrolled in CBHI, and the medical claims are processed much faster than before.

Health Minister, Dr. Sabin Nsanzimana lauded the U.S. government for its support in improving primary healthcare services but tasked stakeholders to address existing gaps, especially in further reducing the number of child and maternal deaths which have stagnated.

Dr. Nsanzimana tasked the health sector players to find a solution to this problem where Rwanda has reduced maternal mortality from over 1200 to 203 per 100,000 births but somehow the numbers are stagnated in some districts while other districts have attained zero death rates.

“I don’t have the answer but we have to find a solution to reduce these deaths to at least 70,” Nsanzimana said.

Dr. Violette Ayingeneye, the Chairperson of Rwanda Hospital Directors and Karongi Hospital Director said that this problem can be resolved by increasing primary health education and mobilization, especially on ensuring expectant mothers seek midwifery care as soon as they get pregnant.

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