The Rwanda Red Cross is training 60 volunteers to handle trauma cases anticipated during the 20th Genocide commemoration week that starts on April 7.
Samson Nkiko, the head of First Aid at Rwanda Red Cross, said the volunteers will be deployed in each district across the country.
Now that we are nearing the commemoration week, we need to be ready to handle cases of trauma, Nkiko said on Wednesday.
In addition to volunteers, Red Cross has coordinators in each district who help in locating highly affected individuals for support.
Nkiko said cases of trauma have significantly reduced in recent years and even those experienced can easily be handled by counsellors because they are minor.
Out of 100 cases, only 20 may require the services of a doctor, he said.
Nkiko attributes trauma to chilling testimonies which make people relive the horrible experiences they went through.
The volunteers have completed training on how to handle trauma cases and are expected to train their peers, he added.
Emanuel Nteziryimana, a psychologist and coordinator at Youth Friendly Centre in Nyanza says during the Genocide commemoration period, people need to be close to survivors and understand their situation.
“We need to be close to them so that they feel loved,” he said, adding that isolation leads to bitter memories.
Meanwhile, Dr Yvonne Kayiteshonga, the head of mental health division at Rwanda Biomedical Centre said preparations for this year’s commemoration began in November last year.
“We intend to have health professionals and non health professionals trained in mental health management to ensure maximum availability of care providers,” Kayiteshonga said.
She said capacity building for health professionals will ensure that they are well positioned to cope with trauma cases.
She disclosed that complicated cases of trauma would be transferred to Kigali University Teaching Hospital (CHUK), and Ndera Neuropsychiatric Hospital.
All organisations and stake- holders who could potentially be involved in handling trauma cases during the Genocide commemoration week will be supported to ensure maximum tracking of cases and effective mental health care follow up, she said.