The National Council of Persons with Disabilities (NCPD) and Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC) have welcomed a new facility that will improve medical services for people with disabilities.
The facility is part of Gahini Rehabilitation Centre, located in Gahini Sector, Kayonza District which was constructed in partnership with the Gahini Anglican Diocese and a German organisation, Christian Blind Mission (CBM).
Leaders of public entities and partners who brought Gahini Rehabilitation Centre to life during a tour of the new complex on Thursday
The construction of the complex alone cost Rwf1.5 billion, while new equipment cost Rwf 750 million, according to officials.
It has 46 rooms for inpatients as well as six VIP rooms.
The centre will offer more services to people with disabilities from across the country and has capacity to produce prosthetics for export
Despite existence of a much smaller centre for decades, they were importing artificial human limbs, which, with the new facility, they will now be producing highly quality prosthetics which they expect to be exporting.
The completion of the new complex comes with specialised services such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy, orthopaedic surgery, orthopaedic laboratory, client hostels, laundry, kitchen and woodwork services.
For effectiveness, employees at the centre will also conduct community outreach, and visit persons with disabilities from their communities once a week to follow up on different conditions.
The Bishop of Gahini Anglican Diocese, Alexis Bilindabagabo, who said his advocacy for people with disability dates back to 1995, two years before he joined Gahini Diocese as leader in 1997, said that it should be the responsibility for everyone to ensure those with disability are facilitated in every way possible
“Advocacy is extremely important, wherever you are, whatever you can do, if we do advocacy, we can go far,” he noted.
The diocese also runs a secondary school from the same area, GS Gahini, that has largely promoted special needs education for children with disabilities, notably the visually impaired.
Oswald Tuyizere, the Director General of the National Council of Persons with Disabilities (NCPD), welcomed the revamping of the facility.
“I can attest that this is the first centre of its kind in the region,” he added, promising to maximise the facility to ensure it benefits as many members as possible.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Dr Jean Pierre Nyemazi, said that services provided at the centre are so ‘excellent’ that they will not only benefit the health sector, but also boost education.
The ministry and the management of the centre will discuss how medical students can be trained from the facility, he said.
Nyemazi also confirmed that there are ongoing talks, and ‘very soon’, people with disability will use Mutuelle de Santé to get prosthetics, something they have been lacking.
Established in 1969 by Liz Hardinge, Gahini Rehabilitation Centre initially started as a department of Gahini Hospital, but it became an independent entity 1980.
It was momentarily interrupted by the genocide against the Tutsi in 1994, before it resumed in 1996, under Gahini Diocese.