Over the last few years, the health landscape has evolved a lot and witnessed dramatic changes spanning across multiple levels. As we now look back to what 2022 meant for the health sector, here are some of the important sectoral trends: Developments including the BioNTech vaccine plant, setting up a pharmaceutical foundation in Rwanda, unfolded the major changes aimed at ensuring improved services in the health sector, slow down on the pandemic, bans issued by Rwanda Food and Drugs Authority and Ebola outbreak in the region among others. Vaccine factory Containers of the first BioNTainer- facilities equipped to manufacture a range of mRNA-based vaccines – will arrive in Rwanda in the first quarter of 2023. In parallel, BioNTech continues to develop and build its state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Kigali following its ground-breaking of the factory construction in June 2022. The manufacturing plant for mRNA-based vaccines is being built in the Kigali Special Economic Zone located at Masoro-Munini, Gasabo District, in a section earmarked for biopharma manufacturing. Vaccines to be manufactured in this Africa-wide network will be dedicated to people residing in member states of the African Union, with the aim to support access to novel medicines. AfDB pharmaceutical foundation in Rwanda Rwanda will host the new African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation, a venture by the African Development Bank (AfDB) that is expected to boost the continent’s access to technology in manufacturing medicines and vaccines. AfDB said the foundation is crucial to help African pharmaceutical companies better scout for technologies and negotiate with global pharma to facilitate local production of the fundamental health products that take up to $14 billion of Africa’s income annually. Failure of the health capitation model of insurance The Ministry of Head was set to start implementing the ‘Capitation Model’ for Community Based Health Insurance (CBHI)/Mutuelle de Sante mid this year which wasn’t the case. However, its realisation did not see the light of the day and the year came to an end. Capitation is a form of payment where health service providers receive a fixed amount of money upfront for each person that uses the CBHI. This is opposed to the “Fee-for-service payment,” under which health facilities get paid after rendering services to clients and sending invoices to the Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB) to reimburse. The Ministry of Health (MoH) and the RSSB were supposed to roll out the capitation system before the end of this year, exclusively in public health centres and posts for the start. As part of the implementation plan, a survey will be carried out in health centres and posts, to establish the number of people in their respective catchment, the average consultations, the price of medication, among other things. Covid-19 slow down The government lifted the mandatory wearing of face masks in public as a prevention against Covid-19, effective May 14. This came after two years since the outbreak of the pandemic that saw the country undergo multiple lockdowns. The effective response to the pandemic allowed the country to gradually reopen economic activities leading to the bouncing back of the economy since 2021. As of Dec. 2, up to 3,625,000 or 40 per cent of the country’s population had been fully vaccinated whereas six million had received their first dose. Rwanda raised its Covid-19 vaccination targets The revision means that Rwanda now aims to vaccinate 69.4 per cent of her population by the end of October 2022. Depression Ndera Neuro-Psychiatric Teaching Hospital revealed disturbing numbers indicating that it recorded an increasing number of cases related to depression which made the illness feature, for the first time, among the top five recorded mental illnesses. The hospital says that since the beginning of this year, it has received 7,817 patients battling depression compared to 1,743 recorded last year. Majority of the new cases are middle aged people between the ages of 20 to 39 years of age. According to statistics from the hospital, 54 per cent of received patients were male while 46 per cent were female. Children under the age of 19 represent 20 per cent of the total number of patients. FDA bans This year saw Rwanda Food and Drug Authority issuing several bans including a ban on Toblerone chocolate that was found to be substandard. The agency also recalled Broncalene, a syrup commonly known for healing dry cough. Rwanda FDA also banned a banana-based alcoholic drink called Umuneza, owing to adverse effects associated with its consumption, including blindness and death. Ebola This year saw an Ebola outbreak in Uganda which resulted in Rwanda’s ministry of health strengthening measures to prevent the spread of Ebola into Rwanda.