President Paul Kagame yesterday met with Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) regional director for Africa at Village Urugwiro in Kigali, where they discussed a range of Rwanda’s health issues.
Dr Moeti told reporters soon after the meeting, that WHO was impressed by Rwanda’s policies, such as the implementation of Universal health insurance, otherwise known as Mutuelle de santé.
“We have had a very interesting meeting with several stakeholders about how to improve health and to contribute to SDG’s in Africa using the inspiration of Rwanda as an example. This is a country that has really made tremendous progress in development including in health, particularly along the line of having equitable and fair access to healthcare to all the citizens,” she said.
“We came here to be inspired by the very clear vision of President Kagame and the government and by the action that has followed what the government decided to do,” Moeti said.
She said that Rwanda has done “very well” in reducing inequities in accessing health services among Rwandans, a style she feels is worth emulating in other developing countries.
“Whether people are rich or in the lower income bracket, they all have a very good insurance system starting with community-based insurance system (Mutuelle de santé) and also finding ways to provide insurance to people in other circumstances. One of the principles which was adopted here, which we can share with other countries, is to have people at all levels of socio-economic ladder make the contribution that they can make to their health insurance,”
She added that, during their discussion, the Head of State advised on ownership of the programme by beneficiaries.
“The President said that if you do this, and let people contribute however small it may be—doing so within their means—they will feel that they own the system. You can base on that in order to be able to fund the scheme in a sustainable way towards access to health services. This is what we would like to promote in other countries,” she said.
When asked what the global health organisation brings to Rwanda, Moeti said that, “what you can expect is for WHO working with other United Nations agencies and development partners to really support the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals agenda in Rwanda and in other countries, through technical support, ideas, sharing of experiences and working within the framework of national policies.”
She commended President Kagame’s approach to development partners’ contribution to the country’s development, saying that it is imperative that governments sometimes act “stubborn” enough to stick to their vision if it is clear enough for it facilitates the work of partners.
Moeti said she was inspired by the President’s clarity in defining his vision and in working with his partners on how to bring in their support to working with Rwanda.
“He called it “being stubborn”. He said that “sometimes we have had to be stubborn with our partners and tell them; we need your help but help us in this way”
Dr Moeti has been in the country for the WHO’s inaugral Africa Health Summit which ended on Wednesday in Kigali.