In a bid to offer better family-oriented specialist care for children infected or affected by HIV/Aids, the Ministry of Health (MoH) and its partners yesterday launched the Integrated Paediatric Centre in Kibagabaga Hospital in Gasabo District.
The centre which is supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Mildmay International and Intra Health among other partners, is the first of its kind in the country.
While addressing guests at the launch, Dr. Ida Kankindi, a representative of MoH in charge of integration, thanked the partner organisations for enabling the implementation of this initiative, adding that it will be rolled out countrywide to benefit more children.
“Rwanda has taken significant strides in addressing HIV/Aids issues, but not much had been done to meet the needs of affected children.
Specialized palliative care will improve the quality of their lives and once successful, the model will be introduced in all the other hospitals as well,” Kankindi said.
According to officials, the integrated model will offer psycho-social support, paediatric pain management, children’s club sport and nutritional care among others.
The Chief Executive Officer of Mildmay International, Fi McLachlan said that her organization was honoured to be a partner in this cause, emphasizing that the project is a step towards achieving the MDG 4 which aims at significantly reducing child mortality rates.
“Our holistic HIV/ Aids care, training and technical expertise in palliative care have been sought after in East Africa and we are committed to working with Intra Health to ensure that all people living with HIV in Rwanda have life in its fullness,” she added.
Dr. Mary Kabanyana from USAID also highlighted that through PEPFAR funding, about 60,000 people in Rwanda have managed to access antiretroviral treatment.
She emphasized that the centre should be well managed to make it a sustainable venture.
On behalf of the children set to benefit from the centre, a 13 year-old boy thanked all the organisations that have made this happen pointing out that children are also determined to maximize use of the facility for proper growth.
Currently, the hospital takes care of 52 children; however, officials are optimistic that the numbers will grow with time.
According to Kankindi, there are about 180,000 children infected with HIV countrywide.