The Ministry of Health has graduated up to 211 home-based care practitioners that have been trained to give palliative care to non-communicable diseases patients, carry out tests, and deal with malnutrition, among other activities.
The Ministry of Health, through the Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC), unveiled the healthcare givers at the launch of the Health Week campaign programme 2017 edition in Rwamagana District, yesterday.
The Health Week campaign aims at delivering an integrated package of medical services and sensitisation through outreaches carried out by the Ministry of Health medics and partners in different parts of the country.
The week focuses on improving maternal and child health, fight malaria, HIV, non-communicable diseases and malnutrition in communities.
The introduction of the home-based healthcare practitioners is a stand-out factor for this year’s edition, which runs until Saturday with different activities across the country.
These include blood donation, immunisation, giving vitamin A to children aged six months to five years, deworming children below 15, and prevention of gender-based violence.
Dr James Kamanzi, the deputy director-general of Rwanda Biomedical Centre, said the home-based healthcare practitioners attended a six-month training in different hospitals across the country.
They will, among other activities, be following up on patients from their homes, and give them care in form of medicine and counselling.
They will also give information concerning deaths in families and the different causes of deaths so that the government can use the information in national statistics.
Kamanzi said the health workers will be working in 100 cells across the country with the goal to spread the service in all cells countrywide in the near future.
‘Solutions to problems’
Presiding over the launch of the campaign, the State Minister for Public Health and Primary Healthcare, Dr Patrick Ndimubanzi, referred to the different interventions under the campaign as “solutions” to certain problems that patients have been facing both at home and in hospitals, especially in form of inadequate care.
“We ask you (the new health workers) to demonstrate dedication, honesty, zeal and love. Go close to the suffering patients and help them,” he said.
Augustine Rusine, one of the healthcare practitioners, said their work will help to reduce the costs that palliative care patients would incur in the past by being confined to hospital beds for all the time they had to receive it.
Nicole Umugwaneza, another healthcare practitioner, said the move will be good for patients, especially those who live alone or have families that wake up in the morning and go to work and leave them unattended.
Eugenie Kampire, a cancer survivor from Rwamagana said: “In villages we rarely go to hospitals to meet doctors and so we find out that we are sick when it is late. We now have an opportunity that these medics will be close to us and will make follow-up on people from home, check us and treat us.”
Judith Kazayire, the governor of the Eastern Province, pledged support to the Ministry of Health from the local leaders, especially in form of sensitising residents about healthy living.