Rwanda’s Minister of health has presented to the 19th national dialogue-umushyikirano- a holistic approach that will give the country healthcare service without precedent.
The Minister, giving an overview of the sector, said there are still quiet a lot to achieve, in infrastructure, equipment and personnel.
He however said, that the country has made a step forward and has a clear path on how remaining challenges will be addressed one after the other.
“We can be proud of a beautiful hospital that we have completed in Nyabikenke, Muhanga district, Southern Province and a specialized maternity ward with 200 beds courtesy of Imbuto Foundation,” Minister Sabin Nsanzimana said.
The facility was built at the premises of Kabgayi hospital from Muhanga, Southern Province.
“We have also worked on reducing the distance to a health facility and thus promoted ten hospitals to the level of the university teaching hospital, level II.”
The new teaching hospitals include, Ruhengeli, Butaro, Byumba, Kibogora, Kibuye, Kabgayi, Rwamagana, Nyamata, Kibungo and Kibagabaga.
The promotion of the ten hospitals means also the face-lift of construction, modern equipment and more medical personnel with expertise.
Rwanda also built international health facilities, including IRCAD Africa which brings new technology in surgery and Biontech, which, on top of vaccine services will do research in the area of cancer.
Kidney Transplant: No Need to Go Abroad
The Minister of health said that Rwanda has managed to get medical specialties in area that used to require referral to foreign hospitals, and those include kidney transplant, heart surgery and cancer treatment.
These cases constitute nearly 70 per cent of medical services Rwandans go to seek abroad, according to Nsanzimana.
“We had fourteen cases of kidney transplant last year, and they were all successfully treated here,” said Minister Nsanzimana.
“We also had 175 cases of heart surgery that were successfully treated in King Faisal Hospital.”
“For cancer, we are remained with one single machine, the PET scan which will allow us to deal diagnose cases and identify stages of the cancer. The machine is under construction and will be here in a couple of months to come,” the Minister further said.
The Doctor to Patient Ratio and the Idea of 4X4
In universal health standards, four doctors should treat one thousand patients, but in Rwanda, this number of patients is a responsibility of one doctor.
According to Doctor Nsanzimana, if Rwanda continues to work at current pace, it would take 187 years to meet the required ratio.
“We want to multiply the number of medical doctors by four, in the next four years, a system which we called 4X4,” Nsanzimana said.
Since a couple of months, the Ministry started the program, and they realized that it can work.
Giving an example, the minister said that initially, the country could enroll 100 students in the school of medicine, but last year, they managed to enroll 300 students.
“We hope to enroll four hundred students annually by next year,” the Minister said.
Ambulance within ten minutes
Mobility in health sector is another important factor in better health service delivery.
According to Minister Nsanzimana, the country is relying on 210 ambulances against 500 ambulances that are required.
The Minister is happy that the few that are available are being used adequately.
“Normally, an ambulance has to respond within ten to fifteen minutes. In Kigali, we are slowly meeting this target,” he said.
For this to work, they need to fill the gap and acquire the remaining 300 ambulances.
“Another 200 ambulances are on the way, courtesy of Imbuto Foundation,” the Minister said while thanking the First Lady Jeannette Kagame, the chairperson and founder of the organization for the relentless support of health sector.