The Ministry of Health will soon create a platform that will bring together researchers in order to seek solutions and plug gaps in the health sector.
Dr Patrick Ndimubanzi, the State Minister in charge of Public Health and Primary Health Care, said the ministry wanted to create a platform for researchers with various backgrounds in the health sector in order to put in place policies basing on factual findings.
He was speaking at a consultative meeting that brought together professional researchers, academics and medical students, as well as Government officials from the health sector, in Kigali yesterday.
“Even medical students’ thesis or inputs by health service providers should be consulted to see how some of their recommendations could be used to ameliorate health services,” he said.
He added that there were standards to base on when someone carried out research depending on the size of sample use, and the scope of area covered.
Jeannine Condo, the Director General of Rwanda Biomedical Centre, said they were planning to link academics, students, researchers and policy makers as a way of finding solutions to problems in the health sectors.
For example, many research projects have been conducted in the field of maternal and child health and some found that many pregnant women start going to health centres for their first antenatal care very late visit, mostly after the six month of their pregnancy, she said.
It means that women don’t finish all the four visits recommended by the World Health Organization to ensure effective and adequate follow up of both the pregnant woman and the fetus.
Research conducted by a certain Albert Ndagijimana and his team from University of Rwanda, assessing why many pregnant women in Kilinda District Hospital delay going for their first antenatal visit, found that despite many initiatives to reverse the trend, there was little progress.
“Based on research findings, we are looking at how we can use Community Health Workers to start as early as possible to follow up on pregnant women, and they can even conduct pregnancy tests, by diagnosing urine. After testing positive, community health workers should be the ones to send the information to the health centres, and they should start antenatal care services in the first term of pregnancy to limit risks on the health of fetus and the mother,” she said.
The study recommends sensitisation on the importance and benefits of timely antenatal visits and more male involvement, especially during the first trimester of the pregnancy, among others.
More than 40 researches from medical students, professional researchers, academicians and health service providers have been compiled in a book that will be based on to improve health services, officials said.