URUGWIRO VILLAGE - President Paul Kagame yesterday met with the Executive Directors of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), with whom he held discussions regarding the state of the general health sector.
Speaking to journalists after meeting the President at Urugwiro Village, Dr. Margaret Chan, hailed the country’s progress in the health sector for the last 15 years.
She noted that what the Rwandan government has done to improve the health sector should be an example for other African countries to learn from. She said that under the circumstances where resources are not enough, good leadership and management are important to ensure that the available funds are used well to meet the health needs of all citizens.
“To me, I think Rwanda is very lucky to have a leader such as President Kagame who has the capacity and the will to do things the right way. Rwanda is a shining example of good management and good leadership which is a good example for the rest of Africa ,” Chan said.
“A case in point is the medical insurance scheme (Mutuelle de Sante) where everyone; men, women and children are able to access health services at a cheaper cost. You all know even developed countries have failed to have a proper insurance running but Rwanda has done so and in a very effective manner.”
Dr. Chan also noted that the government could not have managed to achieve what it has achieved in the past years without the involvement of the citizens.
“Another amazing thing we find in Rwanda is the communal work where the President himself joins the citizens to engage in communal activities aimed at promoting a healthy environment. We view this as one way to achieve the MDG’s and it is a success story African countries can learn from,” Chan said.
Chan and President Kagame also discussed a number of issues the health sector is faced with especially pandemics such as; HIV/AIDS, H1N1 (Swine Flu) and also how African countries can develop capacity to build sustainable and functional health systems that would lead to achieving Millennium Development Goals.
She however noted that the challenges are still many but Rwanda’s success story is one that demonstrates how everything is possible. She said WHO is committed to continue supporting Rwanda.
According to the Minister of Health, Dr Richard Sezibera, the WHO boss was impressed by major steps the country has taken especially regarding equal opportunities for all people to access health services as well as management of health facilities and resources.
He added that Dr. Chan promised to ensure that10-20 percent of the new swine flu vaccine will be sent to developing countries.
President Kagame also met with Michel Sidibe, the UNAIDS chief and discussed a wide range of issues related to the fight against HIV/AIDS.
Sidibe said shortly after the meeting that the focus today is on prevention and Rwanda has already set the precedent by embarking on an aggressive prevention campaign which is now seen as a major front to tackle the AIDS scourge head-on.
“Rwanda has done well in the past; it has shown us that it is possible to prevent 300.000 children dying of AIDS every year passed on by their mothers,” he said.
“President Kagame has shown the capacity to champion this cause and these are some of the things we have been discussing.” Sidibe said.
Sidibe also said that among other things discussed is the possibility of having more therapy drugs manufactured locally as importing them is quite expensive.
He said that at the moment 96 percent of the drugs are imported but it is possible to reduce this percentage by manufacturing the drugs locally.