The Ministry of Health began a project that aims to enhance the financial viability and sustainability of 1,000 health posts through new financing and technological innovations.
The development, which is expected to be attained by 2025, will be carried out with the support of the United Nations (UN) through its project of mobilizing internal resources.
It will assist Rwanda in reaching Universal Health Coverage, all people have access to a full range of quality health services they need, when and where they need them, without financial hardship, by 2024.
This followed various challenges raised by the rural population, such as poor service delivery and a lack of medicine and other medical equipment for the health posts.
Dr Corneille Ntihabose, the Head of Clinical and Public Health Services Department at the Ministry of Health, told The New Times that the Joint Program seeks to improve access to quality health services at the cell level for at-risk populations living in poverty, predominantly women, children under five years, refugees and older people.
He said: “The program will improve the services provided by health posts to the citizens including refugee camps, with a focus on rural areas. It does not mean we will build new 1,000 health posts, but rather that we will expand and strengthen the existing ones.”
In some rural areas of Rwanda, there is an issue of a long walking distance to reach the nearest health facility.
To address this, the government aims to further reduce walking time to under 25 minutes by 2024 through an innovative approach that brings more health posts closer to communities.
The Government also intends to establish health posts in all areas that still do not have facilities by 2024.
While making his remarks in the Joint Programme Steering Committee meeting organized by UN Rwanda on May 16, Ozonnia Ojielo, the UN Resident Coordinator and Representative of the UN Secretary-General to Rwanda, highlighted the importance of health posts at the cell level as a convenient way for all residents and refugees to access health services.
“Having health posts at the cell level including hard-to-reach areas gives assurance that all people and communities including refugees can access health services without exposure to financial hardships,” he noted.
Rwanda currently has 1,247 health posts, the lowest medical unit meant to bring services closer to the community.
Health posts are built under the supervision of the government and some NGOs to offer primary treatment and medical services including general checkup and screening, curative outpatient care, growth monitoring for children under five years, child immunizations, family planning services, HIV counseling and testing, management of Communicable and Non-Communicable Diseases, postnatal consultations, wound care, Directly Observed Therapy (DOT) for tuberculosis.
They link community health workers to health centres, where health workers provide essential primary care services and make referrals to hospitals for specialized services.