Chinese medics in Rwanda reached out to children living with disabilities in Kigali on Tuesday, May 30, providing them with free consultation and recommendations as well as material donations.
The medical team is part of an initiative where the Chinese government sends healthcare providers to Rwanda and several other African countries annually to give support in the health sector.
The medics conducted outreach at Inshuti Zacu, a daycare centre located in Gahanga, Kicukiro that provides care for children living with disabilities, particularly autism.
The facility takes care of up to 97 children with disabilities whom the medical professionals spent time examining, trying to identify some of the health issues they have and offering advice regarding what can be done to make them better. The team also made donations including food and other necessities to the children.
The outreach was part of an initiative by Professor Peng Liyuan, the Chinese First Lady, in collaboration with the Organization of African First Ladies for Development (OAFLAD).
“The Chinese government has been sending medical teams to African countries for the past 60 years. This year marks the 60th anniversary of this programme, and Professor Peng Liyuan, the wife of President Xi Jin Ping proposed this event,” said Wang Xuekun, the Chinese Ambassador to Rwanda.
“Children are the hope and future of the country. The embassy is glad to work together with the Rwanda government for all the children. The children have many difficulties in their families and their living, and we would like to work together so that no one is left behind,” he noted.
The Director General of Imbuto Foundation, Sandrine Umutoni, said that the donations given to the children are a reflection of the friendship between the governments of Rwanda and China. She emphasised the need to support children living with disability in communities and families.
“Today we talked about physical therapy, teaching self-reliance to the children, and most importantly, teaching their parents that although these children have disabilities, they should not be left at home. They should not be hidden. They should receive the right medical support so they can grow and become stronger and contribute to the development of our country,” she said.
According to Sister Francine Muakamazera, the head of Inshuti Zacu Centre, out of the 97 children that they take care of, 82 are on a day-care basis while some 15 stay at the centre both day and night because they have not yet found families to take them.
She noted that the centre should be receiving more children from the community, but not all of them have been brought in due to challenges such as a lack of sufficient workers.
“We also have one vehicle that has to pick up the children from their homes and take them back in the evening. It can only take 15 children at a time, and this makes the process of transporting them slow,” she said.