During his two day visit to Rwanda from 11 to 12 January 2018, the Director General of the World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, applauded the Government of Rwanda for supporting immense growth in its health sector.
During the visit, he paid a courtesy visit on His Excellency Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda. Dr Tedros took this opportunity to congratulate the President for the achievements made so far by the country towards Universal Health Coverage, and lauded the strong leadership of President Paul Kagame in improving the health and well-being of all Rwandans. His Excellency Paul Kagame assured WHO DG of his continuous support to the work of WHO in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
Together with the Minister of Health, Dr Diane Gashumba, Governor of Eastern Province and the Mayor of the District, he visited also Mayange Health Facility in Bugesera District to see first-hand health service delivery at the centre as well as witness the role of Community Health Workers in promoting health among their communities . During the tour of the health centre, he expressed his delight at the different achievements and congratulated the district, health centre and Community Health Workers for their commitment and ownership of the health programme.
“Rwanda’s health sector has grown from strength to strength and it has better outcomes for the community, behind this success is the supportive government leadership and community ownership,” said the WHO DG. Dr. Tedros added he was particularly impressed by Rwanda’s progress in maternal health, Community Health Workers’ role in promoting health, Primary Healthcare achievements and Rwanda’s approach towards disease prevention.“I am impressed by the Community Health Workers who are providing lifesaving services to their villages, treating malaria, pneumonia, diarrhea and providing health promotion and disease prevention services to the communities,” said WHO DG.
“Nationally, delivery at the Health Facility is at 91 %, this by any standard is one of the highest I have heard of in our continent,” said Dr. Tedros. He also commended Rwanda’s strides towards achieving Universal Health Coverage. Rwanda is implementing a Community Based Health Insurance (CBHI) popularly known as “Mutuelle de Sante” with a coverage rate of 84%, mainly focusing on communities, especially the most vulnerable and people in the informal sector.
The CBHI has for more than a decade provided equitable access to quality health care services. The growth of CBHI led to remarkable improvements in key health indicators for example; skilled birth attendants rate rose from 39% in 2000 to 91% in 2015, maternal and child mortality has reduced significantly making Rwanda achieving health related MDGs.
Meanwhile, Health Minister, Dr. Diane Gashumba, expressed her appreciation for the partnership between Rwanda and WHO.
“We are honored to welcome the Director General, Dr Tedros, and we are so grateful for the good partnership with WHO through which we are making good progress towards Universal Health Coverage and are prepared to establish a resilient epidemic preparedness and response strategy,” said Dr Gashumba. The Minister added that the partnership with WHO helped Rwanda to achieve more than 93% vaccination coverage.
Dr. Tedros also visited the Nyamata Genocide Memorial Site, Bugesera District, where he paid tribute to the Tutsi laid to rest there. “Very shocking, brutal and evil; it is beyond words. The World should not forget this genocide. Never again”, said Dr Tedros.
The WHO DG also met the UN Country Team and WHO Country Office staff and discussed about how to continue strong support to Government of Rwanda towards UHC and achieving SDGs.