Efforts to sustain healthcare services in the country could be boosted following a Euro 18 million (about Rwf17 billion) financing agreement between Rwanda and the Kingdom of Belgium.
The deal is part of the Belgian sector budget support to Rwanda’s health sector.
Amb. Claver Gatete, the minister for finance and economic planning, said the grant would help the country realise the objectives of the third health sector strategic plan (HSSP111) 2012-2018.
“The Government of Rwanda is presently engaged in continuous provision of improved healthcare services for the population. This is done through provision of preventive, curative and rehabilitative health care which contribute to the reduction of poverty and enhances the general wellbeing of the population,” Amb. Gatete said during the signing ceremony in Kigali yesterday.
March Pecsteen, the Belgian ambassador to Rwanda, signed on behalf of his country.
According to the minister, the grant will be disbursed in two equal installments of Euro 9 million (about Rwf8.7 million) for 2014/2015 and 2015/2016 fiscal years.
This is expected to contribute to an annual increase in the budgetary allocation to the health sector for the two years.
Overall, the indicative cooperation programme (ICP, 2011 – 2014) of Euro 160 million (about Rwf151.2 billion), the Belgian government had committed Euro 55 million (about Rwf52 billion) to support health services in the country, including through sector budget support.
Belgium has been supporting the health sector since 2008.
Twenty-five per cent of all Belgian development aid to Rwanda is provided through sector budget support.
Amb. Pecsteen said increasing life expectancy of Rwandans while reducing maternal and child mortality is a key to Rwanda’s economic success.
“Spectacular increase in life expectancy and substantial reduction of maternal and child mortality have become flagship successes of the Rwandan health sector,” Pecsteen said.
“Rwanda is one of few countries in the world that is achieving key indicators of the Millennium Development Goals in the health sector. This is the result of sound policies and concrete actions to achieve well defined goals.”
Besides the health sector, the programme (ICP, 2011 - 2014) has also committed Euro 55 million for the development of energy sector and Euro 28 million to support decentralisation in Rwanda while contributing to the implementation of Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy.
Daniel Ngamije, the project coordinator at the Ministry of Health, said the funds will be a big boost toward addressing the challenges facing the country’s health sector.