President Paul Kagame has called on partners in the healthcare sector to implement universal access to healthcare initiatives to improve the welfare of people across the world.
President Kagame was speaking at a High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage ahead of the 74th United Nations General Assembly underway in New York, US.
The President said that universal access to healthcare is a defining feature in modern society and affords people dignity.
“Universal access to health care is a defining feature of the modern social contract. Good health affords people dignity and enables them to use their talents to the full. Today, we renew our joint commitment to affordable care. No parent should have to choose between food and medicine for their families,” he said.
The Head of State said that to achieve this objective, there is a need for innovation, domestic resource mobilisation and international partnership.
Sharing Rwanda’s experience in the efforts towards universal access to healthcare, Kagame noted that the country’s approach had employed multiple strategies including expanding the network of Community Health Workers from two per village to four.
That, he said, translated into one worker, for every 40 households, helping to ensure that no one is left behind.
“Second, to improve equity in access, Rwanda set a target that the walk to the nearest health facility should be no more than 25 minutes. Half the country now meets this standard, and the work continues,” he said.
Rwanda has also ensured that 93 per cent of Rwandan girls below the age of 13 have received the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine.
“This highlights the importance of gender equity, as well as the urgency of including treatment for non-communicable diseases, such as cervical cancer,” he said.
With these efforts, he said that health insurance is the foundation of the country’s policy framework ensuring that more than 90 per cent of the Rwandan population is now covered with a mixture of community-based and private schemes.
The goals and targets will not be without challenges, Kagame told the stakeholders but urged them to ensure the challenges are addressed.
“It is the responsibility of everyone gathered here, to take the lead in addressing these gaps, and leave behind a legacy of Universal Health Coverage for future generations. It is possible,” he said.
President Kagame is today expected to address world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
Every year in September, all the Members of the United Nations General Assembly meet at its Headquarters in New York for the General Assembly session.
All 193 Member States of the Organization are represented in the General Assembly - one of the six main organs of the UN - to discuss and work together on a wide array of international issues covered by the Charter of the United Nations, such as development, peace and security and international law among other subjects.