Health in the news

The first ever Universal Health Coverage Day was launched, last week, in New York, US, during which a global coalition of more than 500 leading health and development organisations advised governments to accelerate reforms that ensure equal access to quality health services regardless of financial status.

The first ever Universal Health Coverage Day was launched, last week, in New York, US, during which a global coalition of more than 500 leading health and development organisations advised governments to accelerate reforms that ensure equal access to quality health services regardless of financial status.

The call is part of concern for an estimated 100 million people who become poor because they or a family member gets ill, prompting payment of medical bills. The arrangement was spearheaded by the World Health Organisation, World Bank and the Rockefeller Foundation.

Luckily in Rwanda, a universal healthcare scheme exists.

About 45,000 volunteering community based health workers deployed countrywide, are involved in sensitisation, screening, and sometimes treatment of ailments among citizens.

Other efforts to improve healthcare include, the web-based method, called the Electronic Logistics Management Information System, which is now linked to 42 district hospitals, 30 pharmacies, five referral hospitals and more than 400 health centres.

Officials say in the past, it would take about two weeks to get deliveries from the central medical store to a health unit, but now it only takes two days.

Still to improve health services, the government and the African Development Bank, last week signed a financial agreement, worth $18 million (about Rwf13 billion), that would help in the establishment of a Centre of Excellence in Biomedical Engineering and e-Health at the University of Rwanda.

A preliminary 2013 report presented by the Rwanda Biomedical Centre at the 2014 International HIV Research Conference revealed that at least 32 per cent of Rwandans still believe HIV/Aids can be transmitted through mosquito bites.

The Rwanda Aids Indicator Survey report also shows that one third of the respondents did not agree that HIV can be prevented through faithfulness.

The survey, which targeted women aged 15-49 and men between 15 and 59, also said only 50 per cent of the people have knowledge of ARVs as long life therapy. The survey involved 14,298 people.

It also indicates that 77 per cent of Rwandans are aware of the role male circumcision plays in reducing the risk of HIV infection.

The report said HIV prevalence stood at 3.5 per cent and 2.1 per cent among females and males, respectively, and that the prevalence was highest among those between 40 and 44 years who accounted for 7.2 per cent.

Meanwhile, a group of engineers and specialists from Rwanda and Tunisia trained Rwamagana Hospital medics on how to operate and maintain a new cancer testing machine that would help pick up invasive tumours and avoid false alarms, according to hospital medics.

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