Forty-four environmental health inspectors across the country have received motorcycles to ease movement during their work.
The initiative that benefitted 42 district hospitals and two health centre-based officers was implemented through a partnership between the Ministry of Health, the World Health Organisation (WHO), Unicef, and UN Habitat for Humanity.
According to Dr Theophile Dushime, the director-general of Clinical Services at the Health Ministry, the motorcycles are part of a six-month national project to promote hygiene and sanitation.
“The purpose is to help these officers visit and inspect water sources more easily and regularly so as to help wipe out water borne diseases,” he said at the handover of the motorbikes last week.
“According to the 2013 Health Management Information Systems (HMIS) report, 25 per cent of the deaths of children under five years is attributed to waterborne diseases. So we believe this move will help in curbing that.”
Dushime also warned the beneficiaries against mishandling the motorcycles, saying it would not only put the ministry under financial loss but also affect work progress.
“These motorcycles should only be used for official purposes; it is unethical to use them for individual errands. Although 75 per cent of citizens countrywide have access to clean water, it doesn’t guarantee that it is safe, with this facilitation these officials should be able to bridge that gap.”
Dr Grace Umulisa, a health specialist with Unicef Rwanda, said availability of clean and safe water is crucial for holistic national development.
“Our key objective is to fight for the welfare of children and one of the ways it can be achieved is through availing clean and safe water to all families, and this is why we contributed to this,” Dr Umulisa said.
She added that her organisation would make a follow-up, to ensure that the motorcycles are being handled with proper care.
Dr Umulisa said the donation would help in achieving the country’s Vision 2020 target, as far as provision of safe and clean water is concerned.
She also pledged further support in the future as far as efforts to provide safe water are concerned.
‘Performance to improve’
Jean Claude Bavuriki, the Ruhango District Hospital environmental officer, one of the beneficiaries, said his work performance would improve greatly.
“Some villages have very bad terrain making them inaccessible by car. So this motor bike has come in handy,” he said.
Faustin Mbonabucya , from Ruli Hospital in Gakenke District, also could not hide his joy over the facilitation.
“Before we had to wait for the hospital vehicle which is not easy to get because it is always in use. We are now confident that people’s access to safe water will improve.”