GASABO - President Paul Kagame yesterday challenged practitioners in the health sector that their role now transcends beyond providing health services to playing a vital role in the economic development of the country.
While addressing health workers at the completion of a 3-week civic training programme for health auxiliaries from across the country, President Kagame told the 45,210-strong group that they should not only provide health services to individuals, but also to the country saying it equally has life.
In a speech punctuated by deafening applause and ululations, Kagame who at the same time is the ‘Chief Tutor’ of the academy locally known as ‘Itorero ry’igihugu’ reminded them that the health sector can not grow alone as other sectors lag behind.
He said that when roads are in a poor state, there is a direct impact because it becomes difficult to ferry patients to hospitals and health centres.
President Kagame also pledged a handset to each of those who don’t have phones to enable them do their work properly.
The fully packed stadium went into frenzy, as Health Minister Richard Sezibera announced the offer, followed by a deafening applause and thumping by the buoyant group for over a minute.
Representatives of the participants selected from all provinces in the country presented their pledges and performance contracts which they intend to fulfil as soon as they get back to their work stations.
Prominent among the vows made by the health workers is the need to promote the medical insurance scheme Mutuelle de Sante to reach its expectations, access to treatment, combating malnutrition and the spread of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD’s) especially HIV/AIDS.
The group from Kigali City pledged to work towards promoting good sanitation and responsible behaviour among the city population.
They pledged to put a stop to irresponsible spitting and proper waste management as well as promoting patient rights.
The East also vowed to tackle cases of infant and maternal mortality as did the other provinces while all provinces vowed to combat diseases like Malaria, Tuberculosis among others.
The health workers also highlighted the values to define them as they go about their duties which including zero tolerance to corruption, accountability of health funds, customer care and valour.
President Kagame reminded the group that the country has fought and won bigger battles in the past including the Genocide but has managed to overcome them and what remains are much easier battles.
Minister Sezibera assured the President that the health workers vowed not to be ‘lukewarm’ or average people but ‘firebrands’ who will not step down amidst difficulty.
He commended all institutions which made the programme a success and on behalf of the group said that they have pledged to work tirelessly for economic development through addressing development setbacks like Maternal and infant mortality.
Amidst applause, the Chairman of the National Taskforce of the programme, Boniface Rucagu announced the group nicknamed ‘Imbagukiragutabara’ intentions to back President Paul Kagame if he contests in the 2010 Presidential elections.