KIGALI - President Paul Kagame’s pledge to provide mobile phones that will facilitate communication for health development was fulfilled Friday when over 2500 community based health workers (CBHWs) acquired phones.
Kagame made this promise to the health workers in July last year during a meeting (Itorero) that was held at Amahoro national stadium.
Distribution of these phones kicked off in Kibeho sector, Nyaruguru district in the Southern province.
While officiating at the function, the Minister of Health, Dr. Richard Sezibera told the beneficiaries that this is just a part of government’s plan to foster e-health, a measure that will ensure that all Rwandans acquire quality health care services.
“We have pioneered this programme in Nyaruguru and Kirehe so that we can study and know if at all it is effective. After two months we will distribute these phones to community health workers countrywide if it works,” he said.
“It is not a phone for leisure use but rather a tool that will enable you to perform your duties effectively so that you can significantly cut mortality rates especially among mothers and children under five, in line with the health goals.”
The programme which is supported by MTN and Voxiva, a technology partner will enable users to send monthly health reports to health facilities, call ambulances and communicate with health experts at no cost.
“They are in a user group with a number given by MTN and we will be able to train them through these phones in future,” he added.
“For now they will be able to charge the phones at health facilities as we introduce a solar based charging system for them.
Sezibera, called upon the health workers to ensure that they attain three major health goals by the end of this year. Among them he highlighted cutting maternal mortality, eliminating malnutrition and boosting sanitation especially at community level.
One of the health workers, Vestina Kamugwera, thanked officials for the initiative which will ease health service delivery, as she also called upon the minister to pass on the health workers’ plea to President Kagame requesting him to stand for the upcoming presidential elections.
“President Kagame’s initiatives are those that are driving our nation to development and prosperity. We would like to thank the government for meeting this need and request that he stands for another term,” Kamugwera emphasized.
“We all know that he is the right candidate for this nation.”
The Minister also urged them to fight divisionism and play a significant role in development. There are over 45000 community based health workers across the country.