The country currently has no Hospital Managers and Medical Assistants (MA), positions that are necessary to strengthen the health system.
The Ministry of Health sought therefore partnership with an academic group of foreign institutions of higher learning to close this gap.
These academics will transfer the expertise necessary to create qualified health managers and medical assistants.
The foreign lecturers and mentors will work hand-in-hand with the existing institutions and faculties in the country to strengthen the programme which is expected to span over seven years.
In an interview with The New times, the new Minister of Health, Dr. Agnes Binagwaho, said that the health sector’s need for qualified human resource both qualitative and quantitative is the driving force for the programme.
“We have very few human resources in the health sector compared to the country’s population. We believe that the programme will help us to take off towards excellence,” said the Minister adding that health workers will also improve in issues to do with respect for the patients as well as improving their knowledge.
For a population of about eleven million, there are 480 physicians. This is about one physician per 20,000 people.
Within the seven years, the programme will produce at least 50 managers so that there can be at least one manager at each of the 44 district hospitals. It will also place one Medical Assistant at each of the 500 health centers in Rwanda.
The research and education specialist in the Ministry of Health Dr. Vincent Rusanganwa told this news paper that the introduction of Medical Assistants into the health system will raise the level of care at health centres.
“After seven years, we shall have a more qualified, experienced and self sufficient group of Rwandan health educators and workers to sustain the future development of the health sector,” said Rusanganwa.
Robert Bizimungu a resident of Remera welcomed that ambitious plan by the Health Ministry.
“A lot has been done in the health sector, but a visit to many of the health centres in this country shows a big gap as far as professionalism is concerned,” he said, adding that the programme should try to address most especially the quality of the health workers.
Vincent Musonera a resident of Kimironko was also upbeat on the development and wishes that it addresses what he calls ‘carelessness’ by midwives.
“I have experienced a number of incidents where either mothers or babies die during delivery due to negligence if not inexperience of the midwives,” he said.