The Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) Citizen Outreach Programme, formerly known as the RDF Army Week, will this year provide free medical care services to more than 113,000 patients.
This was announced during a news briefing on Thursday at the RDF Headquarters by RDF officials, who also revealed that other activities related to infrastructure and agriculture will be conducted throughout the period of more than three months.
Colonel James Ruzibiza, the head of J9 (civil military relations) in RDF, said that all the outreach activities will start this Friday in different parts of the country, and will go on until the end of July.
“This year we shall conduct our citizen outreach activities across the entire country targeting different areas, including health, agriculture and infrastructure. The activities will start this Friday and will end in July,” he said.
Ruzibiza said that an estimated 113,000 patients will receive free medical care in orthopedics, dental, ophthalmology, gynecology, and ear nose and throat (ENT).
“Our specialists will be treating diseases related to respiration, bones and skin, just to mention a few. They will also be conducting male medical circumcision on a voluntary basis,” he noted.
Already, about 363,848 have been provided with free medical care since the launch of the initiative. Last year alone, specialised medics handled over 250 cases in eleven weeks while ophthalmologists handled more than 750 surgery cases.
Officials indicated that the outreach programme has had a far-reaching impact since its launch. Beyond treating patients, military personnel have been able to construct six hospitals and health centers, 55 health posts, and 114 rooms for health counselors.
As part of contributing towards the drive to improve health and sanitation, Ruzibiza said that the force will conduct sensitiSation activities in partnership with the Ministry of Health.
The initiative started in 2009 as part for RDF’s mission to protect sovereignty and territorial integrity for sustainable security of the people, according to Lt Col Innocent Munyengango, the DefenCe and Military Spokesperson.
“It is, therefore, against this background that the Rwanda Defence Force has been involved in various community activities in support of national socio-economic development and transformation,” he said.
Meanwhile, RDF targets this year to construct classrooms and houses for the vulnerable in areas identified by local governments. 1,961 houses, 121 classrooms and 108 school latrines will be constructed.
In agriculture, 4,511ha will be cultivated.
“If you look at the activities we carried out last year, it would have cost the Gabout Rwf71 billion. This money was saved because of the activities we held as part of the Army Week,” he said.
This year’s activities commence from Rwamagana where medics will conduct medical activities, Musanze where houses will be built for the vulnerable, Nyabihu, and later in Kamonyi and Ruhango.