As a way of facilitating their day-to-day activities and improving health services at community levels, the government will this week start distributing mobile phones to Community Based Health Workers (CBHWs) in the country, Health Minister, Dr. Richard Sezibera revealed.
The minister noted that the new phones will be used under a particular kind of system that only allows users to communicate for purposes related to health service delivery.
“We are not giving you these phones for calling each other at leisure, these will purposely solve the major problem that concerns calling ambulances to take patients to health facilities or calling other health officials to consult on particular medical issues,” he said.
Distributing these mobile phones was an initiative brought up by President Paul Kagame during one of the meetings that he had with the CBHWs.
Sezibera also noted that through this mobile phone system, the workers will acquire training and also be able to send results from the field by the short message service (SMS).
“We will begin distributing these phones on Friday in Nyaruguru and Kirehe and once the system proves to be effective, then we will give out the phones countrywide.”
The minister also thanked the CBHWs for their efforts to improve health adding that more effort is needed to further lower maternal deaths as well as improving hygiene and sanitation – a major strategy of cubing child killer diseases like diarrhoea.
“There is no reason why a woman should die giving birth, so we should eliminate this problem forever. Always carry out audits why a death of this kind has happened and then work as a team to find permanent solutions,” he emphasized.
He highlighted that recent reports show that about 96 percent of the people who fell sick managed to get well after interventions of CBHWs.
Sezibera also said that as another strategy of improving the lives of CBHWs, government aims at boosting the incomes of the practitioners through supporting their cooperatives annually.
There are about 50,000 CBHWs across the country.