More than 3000 Genocide survivors living with physical and psychological wounds as a result of the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi are expected to be treated during the ongoing Army Week medical outreach in Muhanga District.
Some 536 survivors have already benefited from the free treatment drive scheduled to end on April 29.
Rwanda Military Hospital (RMH), Kanombe, in partnership with the Fund for Genocide Survivors (FARG) and the Ministry of Local Government and Social Affairs on Tuesday, launched the Week after one day of its activities at Kabgayi Hospital and Nyabikenke Health Centre in Muhanga.
Some special healthcare services to be provided include internal medicine, counseling, dental and general surgery among others.
Presiding over the launch, Alvera Mukabaramba, the Minister of State in charge of Social Affairs at the Ministry of Local Government commended the partnership between the Rwanda Military Hospital in Kanombe and the Fund for Genocide Survivors, adding that the Army Week brings r medical activities close to vulnerable people.
“Army Week is one of government programmes that support and heal the wounds of Genocide survivors. The services are brought closer to the people free of charge. This medical outreach is conducted twice a year. This shows Rwandan army’s love for citizens. We recognise their hard work. After 1994, it seemed impossible to cure all the wounds but through Army Week the situation has changed,” Mukabaramba said.
She urged local leaders and neighbours to share information about weak and elderly people who live far from where services are delivered so that they can be facilitated in travel.
“Support doesn’t necessarily mean money or sponsorship. Advocacy is the primary support. Leaders should be closer to survivors to hear from them and report on their daily challenges. The work to improve survivors’ welfare should continue.”
Since 2012, more than 38,000 from 27 districts benefited from free treatment.
Muhanga is the 27th district to benefit from the outreach programme. Ngororero, Gicumbi and Rusizi are the only remaining districts.
Brig Gen Emmanuel Ndahiro, the RMH commandant, said the outreach brings medical services closer to citizens.
Theophile Ruberangeyo, the Director of the Fund for Genocide Survivors, thanked the Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF) for their continued effort in treating survivors living with various ailments.
He said, in a 2010 assessment, 18,500 Genocide survivors were expected to be treated but with support from Army Week more than 38,000 survivors have since been treated free of charge.
“We expected to spend Rwf30 billion on treatment, but not more than Rwf 200 million has been spent. RDF has also committed to come back and treat those who didn’t get treatment during the first phase. We are proud of them,” Ruberangeyo said.
During the launch, Bishop Simaragde Mbonyintege of Kabgayi Diocese, prayed for peace, unity and love among Rwandans.
Marie Goreth Yankurije, after undergoing dental surgery, said she was grateful to receive army’s treatment for free after five years of a dental disease.
Gertrude Mukanyonga said this campaign reminds her how she was rescued by RPF from killers during the Genocide.