The Ministry of Health through Rwanda Biomedical Center (RBC) and the United States’ Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), last week celebrated 15 years of partnership.
CDC partners with the Government of Rwanda in HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis prevention and control and human resources for health and laboratory strengthening among major activities.
Speaking at the celebration in Kigali, RBC’s Deputy Director General James Kamanzi said the more than a decade of partnership yielded many achievements.
“As we celebrate the achievements made we have also learnt many lessons and, if we move together, we should see more achievements in the future,” he said.
Kamanzi thanked CDC for its contribution in the control of both communicable and non-communicable diseases in the country.
He said the job is not yet done as they look forward to more achievements.
Dr Christina Mwangi, the Acting Country Director for CDC Rwanda, said the celebration was very important for them as it helped demonstrate the US government’s commitment in supporting the government and enable Rwandan population meet their public health goals.
Mwangi said that, through the U.S Presidents’ Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), CDC has supported the implementation of over 90 per cent of PEPFAR programmes in Rwanda.
“Working under the leadership of the MoH and other partners, the mother to child transmission of HIV has been reduced to below 2 per cent.” she said.
She said, through PEPFAR funding and with technical support from CDC, many laboratories across the country have been re-equipped to high standards, able to provide accurate and reliable diagnostics.
Mwangi said that over 90 per cent of Rwandans know their HIV status and those who test positive are enrolled in HIV treatment sooner.
The U.S Ambassador to Rwanda, Erica Barks-Ruggles, congratulated both partners for the achievements made.
“We thank you for making great steps forward and we will continue to work hand in hand with you in skills, training and building capacity. We will also continue working in research to make sure that data tell exactly what happening,” she said
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Dr Jean Pierre Nyemazi, said one of the uniquenesses of the partnership is that CDC brought financial and technical support.
“I remember we used to review the guidelines, have some scientific talks but we kept seeing CDC there on the front and their spirit has been transmitted to our staff at RBC. That is something that we really appreciate, in terms of capacity, the knowledge and financially. That is why we are celebrating a very successful partnership,” he said.
Though the last mile seemed to be very complex, but remember we are not bidding farewell to CDC, we are actually saying that we have been together for 15 years and we want to start a new chapter together, said Nyemazi.
He reminded partners that they need to do more and better for the best of the people.