After years of focusing mainly on adults, the Ministry of Health, will set up a special centre for children infected or affected by HIV in response to growing demand.
The centre is set be become operational next month.
According to a Health official in charge of HIV/Aids services, Antoinne Murebwayire, the centre will be established at Kibagabaga Hospital, in Gasabo district.
“The centre will be launched by the end of this month and it will be the first of its kind in the country. At the facility, we will take time to explain the reality of HIV/Aids to the children who are 8 years and above.”
“Children have their own needs and here they will receive special counseling services that suit their ages from qualified personnel.
Under a follow-up programme, officials will also be able to visit these children at home as often as possible to ensure that they take their medication as prescribed,” she explained.
Diane Mukasahaha, a palliative officer who works with Intra Health also once explained that in most cases parents find it hard to break the news to their children about their HIV status saying that this centre will meet this need.
So far there are 47 HIV positive children who visit this hospital but officials are optimistic that after its launch the number of children visiting the modern centre will grow.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Agnes Binagwaho, also noted that this initiative will be pioneered at Kibagabaga Hospital but once successful, it will be introduced in other hospitals countrywide.
“The ministry of health is committed to ensuring that all Rwandans acquire quality health services and such a centre for children is another step towards provision of better services to people living with HIV/Aids,” she noted.
World Bank Statistics on HIV/Aids for 2009 show that there are 22 million adults above 15years and children living with the pandemic in sub-Saharan Africa.
According to the National Aids Control Commission, the Ministry of Health and partners have increased emphasis on prevention of HIV transmission from mother to child and voluntary testing for youth.