TVET, health on track – PAC

The Presidential Advisory Council (PAC) members have been impressed by Rwanda’s efforts to transform health and technical education to improve the livelihood of the citizens.
Some of the PAC members during a visit to the  Workforce Development Authority- Remera Hospitality Academy  yesterday.  The New Times/ Timothy Kisambira.
Some of the PAC members during a visit to the Workforce Development Authority- Remera Hospitality Academy yesterday. The New Times/ Timothy Kisambira.

The Presidential Advisory Council (PAC) members have been impressed by Rwanda’s efforts to transform health and technical education to improve the livelihood of the citizens.

The team, which concluded its 12th meeting in Kigali yesterday, visited Busanza Health Centre in Kanombe sector, Kicukiro District and Workforce Development Authority-Remera Hospitality Academy and Hairdressing Academy in Gasabo District.

Speaking to reporters shortly after touring Busanza Health Centre, Dr Clet Niyikiza, one of the PAC members expressed gratitude for the country’s path to provide improved inclusive healthcare.

Niyikiza is the executive vice president of Medicine Development at Merrimack Pharmaceuticals inc, in Cambridge-Massachusetts, US.

“I am impressed by the Rwanda’s healthcare, especially the zeal of community healthcare workers. For the development of a nation, you need healthy people, so it’s very difficult for a nation to move forward without healthy people,” he said.

“The experience here is telling me that, the issue is being addressed in a very fundamental way in a sense that the health of the nation is being built bit by bit  from the base of the community.”

He stated that approach of community health workers is extremely effective because it places the health intervention at the household/community level.

The US based, Rwandan medical expert made the remarks shortly after being briefed how the community health workers participate in the provision of healthcare to children and expectant mothers.

“As we advise how we move forward, it’s prudent and important to make sure the issue of healthcare is at the centre of what we are trying to accomplish,” Niyikiza noted.

According to Dr Anita Asiimwe, the minister of state in charge of Public Health and Primary Health Care, community healthcare workers have played a key role in the reduction of child mortality and maternal related mortalities.

Rwanda last year hit the MDG target on child mortality,  where the country reduced the death of children under the age of five, from 156 deaths per 1,000 children to 54 deaths per 1,000 children born annually, according to a report by UNICEF.

“We wouldn’t have done that, if it wasn’t for the collaborative and supportive work of community healthcare workers. They help us a lot to identify a child who is sick earlier enough and treat them,” she said.

Vocational training future

The PAC group members wound up their field tour by visiting Remera Hospitality Academy and Hairdressing Academy, operated as model centres by WDA, where they commended the training modalities.

“I am very impressed, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I heard about what they are trying to do, in terms of promoting techinical and vocational programmes. I am amazed by the nature of facilities found here,” said Scott Ford, another PAC member.

According to Jerome Gasana, the director general of WDA, the facilities have become a channel through which students acquire hands on skills to become professionals in hair dressing and hospitality.

“Our target is to see between 20,000-25,000 students graduate annually in vocational skills and get jobs immediately,” he said.

Gasana stated that WDA is planning to construct a state -of -the –art Integrated Polytechnic Regional Centre Kigali Hotel that will be a training centre for hospitality industry.

PAC, a 23-member council, was formed in September 2007 and meets twice a year, under teh chairmanship of President Kagame, with the aim of identifying new and practical interventions that will drive forward Rwanda’s socio-economic transformation.

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