On April 1st, 2011, Solid Africa, a nonprofit organization that helps vulnerable patients in Rwanda’s public hospitals will host a fundraising ceremony at Lemigo Hotel, Kigali. The funds raised will support the most vulnerable patients who lack medical assistance.
Solid Africa hopes to provide a platform for everyone to participate and contribute towards changing the lives of financially vulnerable patients in public hospitals.
A seat at the ceremony will cost Rwf25, 000.
Isabelle Kamariza, the founder of Solid Africa says, Solid Africa is a mindset and movement of people that believe it is possible to channel individual efforts towards helping several others in need.
“Through a strong social structure we can all help to solve most social constraints in public hospital,” Kamariza said.
The funds collected will be directed towards the construction of a new kitchen in Kigali for the Gemura Food For All programme—an initiative of Solid Africa.
Kamariza’s organization provides daily meals and covers hospital and transportation bills for stranded patients in public hospitals.
“The Gemura Food Program involves people who donate food which is cooked at one place before it is taken to hospitals. A big kitchen is required to ease up the programme. A team of people are needed to prepare and serve the food in the hospitals,” Kamariza explained.
The Kigali kitchen will ease up the distribution of daily meals to over 700 patients in the city’s public hospitals such as: Kanombe Military Hospital, Muhima Hospital, Central University Teaching Hospital of Kigali (CHUK) and Kibagabaga Referral Hospital.
In February, 2010 Kamariza and eight other friends formed Solid Africa to support the most socially and economically helpless patients. Today, more youth are involved.
Patrick Nizeyimana, a member of Solid Africa argues that Rwandans have the ability to help fellow countrymen.
“We want to instill into Rwandans the desire to help the most vulnerable people in our communities without involving foreign assistance,” Nizeyimana said, “... there is nothing to lose if someone spares thirty minutes of their time to visit people in hospitals and give them something to eat. Even a little chat with a patient is valuable.”
Nizeyimana explained that sometimes people want to help but don’t know how to start.
At the fundraising ceremony people will be informed of the storage locations of collected food and other basic needs.
“Though Rwanda established one of the lowest costs for the health insurance scheme (Mutuelle de Sante), many households are plagued by abject poverty and they can’t acquire it. It’s on this ground that we try to pay medical bills or even get them the medical insurance,” Kamariza explained.
Mutuelle de Sante is an annual Public Health Insurance scheme set up by the Rwandan Government to facilitate cheap access to health services for the poor.
However, effective June 1st, 2011, Mutuelle de Sante will be increased from Rwf2000 per person to Rwf2900.
Kamariza said even with insurance, some patients find it difficult to cover the unavoidable costs of medicine, food, hygienic products like sanitary pads and their transportation fares from the hospital to their homes.
“Health is a human right which should not depend on economic means. Our vision in Solid Africa is to improve the lives of vulnerable patients.
We ensure that they receive daily meals so that they can quickly recover in the most favorable conditions in order to continue living as productive members of our society,” Kamariza explains.
Through family and friends donations, Solid’ Africa has raised funds to release a considerable number of economically challenged and abandoned patients. Solid Africa currently coordinates efforts and feeds patients at CHUK’s Emergency Unit with breakfast and lunch on Mondays.