URUGWIRO VILLAGE - The Rockefeller Foundation, a US-based philanthropic organisation has pledged to work hand in hand with the Government of Rwanda to strengthen the country’s health systems.
The pledge was made yesterday by a delegation from the foundation led by its President Judith Rodin, which had paid a courtesy call on President Paul Kagame at Urugwiro Village.
During their meeting with the President, the delegation committed to support efforts aimed at attaining the country’s vision of a sustainable, efficient and effective health system for all.
Speaking to members of the press shortly after the meeting, Jodin said that the support is aimed at reinforcing government efforts to reorganise the health sector through ICT based initiatives in the next few years.
“Rwanda’s health sector is really reorganising itself and we are seeing the Mutuelle (de Sante) trying to provide universal health coverage [and], we have so far seen a number of technologies that are now used such as Mobile phones, e-health record etc,” Rodin said.
Mutuelle de Sante is a communal insurance scheme that has seen millions of Rwandans access health facilities after paying minimal annual contributions for those who can afford while the poor are catered for by government.
“All these are going to be introduced and the Rockefeller foundation will be working with the government and many other partners to develop and expand these programmes throughout the country,” she added.
Rodin said that the partnership is aimed at making universal healthcare services accessible by everyone and will be long term in nature, with the foundation injecting in the project an unspecified amount of money.
The project, she said, will mainly focus on transforming the health sector into an ICT-based one.
“We expect very extensive impact, we expect that the lives of people will be improved because healthcare will be more universally accessible and will be given more efficiently and effectively,” she added saying that this will be achievable with their support and the good work of the government.
According to Health Minister Dr Richard Sezibera, talks between the delegation and the President focused on capacity building in the health sector through ICT-based practices and establishing centres of excellence to train medical practitioners use ICT.
“We already have plans to streamline health systems including Mutuelle de Sante to make them ICT compliant…we will have electronic medical records, payment systems and patient records tracking systems as well as tele-medical services, in a bid to provide e-health services and this group will support these initiatives,” Sezibera said.
It’s the first time the Rockefeller Foundation has ventured into the health sector.
The initial support by the group in the country targeted agriculture and rural development.
Rockefeller Foundation was established in 1913 by John D. Rockefeller, Sr. with the aim of promoting the well-being of humanity by addressing the root causes of serious problems.