The Ministry of Health is ready to provide psychological support to trauma victims across the country during the 23rd commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi due to start on Friday, officials have said.
At a news conference at the Ministry of Health headquarters, yesterday, officials said over 130 ordinary cars, 30 buses, 30 ambulances (stocked with medicines and medical equipment) are lined up to work throughout the commemoration week helping the victims around the country.
The ministry has also put in place a toll free hotline 6200 for MTN, Tigo and Airtel users to provide quick support to people in need of psychological first aid, advice and orientation.
Among other interventions, at least each of the 500 health centres in the country have one medic trained in handling people suffering from post Genocide trauma, while hospital medics countrywide have also received training.
Over 140 police officers and officials, 199 AERG members, 244 Rwanda Red Cross volunteers were also trained as coordinators who have been training others in dealing with post-Genocide trauma.
A special team has also been put in place to collect and keep the data concerning trauma victims for future follow-up, while availability of the needed medicines has been ensured.
Dr Yvonne Kayiteshonga, the Head of Mental Health Division at Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC), said that all the hospitals, health centres and other places where people can access medical care will be open 24 hours, throughout the commemoration week to provide quick care to trauma victims.
Dr Jean Damascene Iyamuremye, the Director of Psychiatric Care at RBC, said on April 7, during the ceremonies that open the commemoration period in Kigali, over 350 medics who are well trained in handling trauma cases will be available at Amahoro Stadium and Kigali Genocide Memorial, along with Community Health Workers, civil society members, Red Cross workers, among other volunteers, to ensure that trauma victims are helped adequately.
Iyamuremye also added that all health care provided to victims of post- Genocide trauma during the commemoration week will be free.
He called on private health workers, civil society and all Rwandans to make all efforts to reach out to the people that will be affected by trauma during the commemoration.
“Whether in government or private hospitals, the treatment will be free during the week. This is because we all know that these things happen suddenly and a quick response is needed. Let us be ready to give maximum help freely. We ask every Rwandan to find a way to help a trauma victims because, without mental health, no health is possible,” he said.
During the last commemoration, 807 cases (representing 32%) of trauma were received by the Ministry of Health in Kigali, 561 (22%) cases were registered in Southern Province, 289 (11%) cases in the Western Province, 237 (9%) cases in Northern Province, and 660 (26%) cases in the Eastern Province.
According to Ministry of Health statistics, females are more affected by trauma than males. During last year’s commemoration, 89% cases of trauma were females while 11% were males.