This article was originally published by PR Newswire here.
New initiative will provide vital primary care services within a 30-minute walk of all Rwandans’ homes.
Health post workers will test and treat pregnant women for multiple infectious diseases that can have serious health consequences for both mothers and newborns if not diagnosed and treated early.
The Ministry of Health of Rwanda, the non-profit organization Society for Family Health Rwanda and global healthcare company Abbott (ABT) are today announcing the grand opening of a second-generation health post in Gikundamvura Cell, Ruhuha Sector, Bugesera District. The new health post is part of a program to help bring accessible, affordable and enhanced quality health services to rural communities in Rwanda.
Today, 83 percent of Rwandans live in rural areas and many have to walk long distances or arrange costly transport to access health services. Compared to first-generation health posts that offer a limited menu of basic services, second-generation health posts represent a new model by providing expanded primary health care services – including annual health check-ups, a greater array of diagnostic testing for infectious diseases, ante-natal and maternal care, and management of non-communicable disease such as diabetes – within a 30-minute walk of all Rwandans’ homes. The new health posts are intended to improve patient outcomes and quality of life, while reducing the workload at higher levels of care, such as health centres and district hospitals.
“Second-generation health posts will help Rwanda address gaps in health care service delivery, especially in our rural areas,” said Diane Gashumba, M.D., Minister of Health, Rwanda. “After completing the pilot phase, we look forward to scaling up across the country and realizing gains in economic productivity from a healthier nation.”
The second-generation health post initiative is named “Icyuzuzo” – the Kinyarwanda word meaning “to contribute to what is being done” to achieve the universal health coverage targets.
Abbott is funding the construction of eight second-generation health posts in Bugesera, as part of a program to assess the sustainability of an expanded treatment and care model. Four of the eight new health posts will be equipped with maternity wards; the other four, which are closest to existing maternity wards at health centres, will have kits for emergency deliveries.
The Society for Family Health Rwanda and Abbott employees have also provided basic business skills training — such as budgeting and inventory management — to help ensure that the health post operators thrive and to enable the long-term sustainability of the independently operated health posts.
“We’re helping to bring primary care capabilities closer to home for more people by building these new health posts with the goal of saving lives and reducing healthcare costs,” said Jenna Daugherty, divisional vice president, Global Citizenship and Sustainability, Abbott. “With this pioneering approach, we aim to demonstrate the health economics and benefits to patients of expanding second-generation health post services across Rwanda and in other African countries.”
About Healthcare in Rwanda
Rwanda has achieved great improvements in several key health indicators, including maternal mortality and other health outcomes. By investing in health systems and universal health insurance, the government of Rwanda has improved its citizens’ life expectancy and expanded access to healthcare. As a result, the country has climbed to 11th out of 51 African countries in achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals aimed at improving health, as well as fighting poverty, protecting the environment and reducing inequality.
However, there is also evidence of deficiencies in Rwanda’s health system, particularly in rural areas where there are further opportunities to improve maternal and neonatal health, reduce infectious disease cases and improve management of chronic non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
About the Society for Family Health Rwanda
The Society for Family Health (SFH) Rwanda was established in 2012 to improve the health of Rwandan communities by providing readily accessible life-saving products, accurate health information, and services that empower communities to make informed and healthy choices.
SFH’s major interventions are centered on promotion of behavior change practices through innovation in health communication and social marketing in areas related to: HIV/AIDS; malaria; family planning; water, sanitation and hygiene; nutrition; and maternal and child health.
Abbott is a global healthcare leader that helps people live more fully at all stages of life. Our portfolio of life-changing technologies spans the spectrum of healthcare, with leading businesses and products in diagnostics, medical devices, nutritionals and branded generic medicines. Our 103,000 colleagues serve people in more than 160 countries.