Article 45 paragraph one of the Constitution of Rwanda says: “The State has the duty to mobilise the population for activities aimed at good health and to assist them in the realisation of those activities.”
The activities or actions that are specifically linked to children’s health are well defined in the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC). Article 14 of the ACRWC says that every child has the right to enjoy the best attainable state of physical, mental and spiritual health.
Rwanda ensures that children are in a good state by setting up laws which specifically speak to their welfare.
For instance, regarding physical wellbeing, 24 of N°54/2011 of 14/12/2011 the law relating to the rights and the protection of the child says: “Each child has the right to have a family from his/her birth, where he/she lives, grows, develops and which ensures all the protection and affection necessary to his/her full development.”
Another action to promote the health among children is the reducing the death toll of infants and children. Rwanda does this through mandating vaccination for newly born babies and providing easy access to healthcare.
To ensure that children have the necessary medical assistance and health care that they need, article 45 of the law relating to the rights and the protection of the child says: “Every child who is on the Rwandan territory must be affiliated to a medical insurance in accordance with relevant law.”
The relevant law in this case is N° 48/2015 of 23/11/2015 Law governing the organisation, functioning and management of health insurance schemes in Rwanda. It explains in great detail the health insurance options available for parents and their children.
Safeguarding the right of Rwandan children to healthy living is not a duty that government is expected to perform alone. Paragraph two of article 45 of the Constitution of Rwanda says: Every Rwandan has the duty to take part in activities aimed at good health.”
For example, children have the right to food, but it’s up to them to develop good eating habits, taking care to avoid foods that are likely to cause poor health.
Another example about the need for collaboration between the government and Rwandan children is that article 20 of the law relating to the rights and the protection of the child says that a child has the right to access suitable information, right to rest and leisure.
Facilities to cater to the right to information and leisure, for instance public libraries and play grounds are available. However, the willingness to read or exercise is up to the child.