KIGALI - The Minister of Health, Dr. Richard Sezibera, has said that the activities covered within the previous mini-budget, indicate that the health sector is steadily progressing towards achieving its targets set under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
During the Joint Health Sector Review that was held yesterday at La Palisse Nyandungu, Sezibera, noted that at the last review that was held in March, officials agreed on particular priority areas to improve.
“Six months down the road, we have intensified the fight against infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, improving maternal mortality through various interventions, and re-organization of medical training among others.
“In April, we also introduced the pneumococcal vaccine that will cut child mortality rates by 25 percent and the law establishing the Rwanda Bio-medical Centre has also been passed by Parliament and will soon be tabled before the Senate,” Sezibera underscored.
The minister added that despite such progress in the last six months, more reforms must be enforced to ensure that healthcare reaches the most vulnerable.
“In this regard, research that aims at raising healthcare services, including those of non-communicable diseases and mental health, must improve. A health financing policy must also be finalsed and improved,” he told the health officials.
As part of the next mini-budget, the minister emphasized the need to ensure that drugs, vaccines and health supplies never run out of stock at all health facilities.
The representative of World Health Organization in Rwanda, Dr. Jack Abdoulie, commended the government for the achievements over this period, saying that these are important milestones that increase chances of reaching MDG’s.
“Integrated efforts such as the measles campaign and sustainability of the health insurance policy show progress, but other strategic plans are also being finalized,” Abdoulie noted.
Some of the challenges that pose a threat to accelerated efforts include financial constraints, lack of medical equipment and the need to change population’s mindset as a strategy of promoting public health.