Universal health coverage means that all people have access to the health services they need, when and where they need them, without financial hardship. It includes the full range of essential health services, from health promotion to prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, and palliative care.
Rwanda has made tremendous strides in improving health outcomes and the health status of its population in the past decades. However, despite the great improvements in Rwandas’ healthcare systems, there is still a gap in the geographical access as a portion of the population walks over an hour to reach the nearest health facility. This challenge greatly has contributed to the uptake in health seeking behaviour in malaria prevention, maternal and child mortality as well as NCD diagnostic and treatment.
The Ministry of Health Rwanda initiated a national program to set-up health posts at cell level to increase geographical distribution of health facilities and accessibility to healthcare services. This innovative and effective health sector strategy coupled with Community health workers and Community Based Health Insurance (a financial protection mechanism) is proving to be effective in improving lives of children, women, adolescents, and general populations.
SFH Rwanda through its partnership with its partners including SC Johnson, Abbott, Imbuto Foundation, Embassy of Japan in Rwanda, UNICEF and others, is supporting the Government of Rwanda through the Ministry of Health and the Local Government by the constructing and equipping of new health facilities, refurbishment of old facilities as well as providing capacity building trainings of healthcare operators in a bid to improve access to quality healthcare services especially for populations living in hard-to-reach areas.
The health posts are categorized into First-generation health posts (FGHP) which offer basic services such as rapid tests and authorized medication and Second-generation health posts (SGHP) which offer special services like maternity, laboratory, ophthalmology, dental, vaccination and family planning services. Over 179 health posts have been availed to different communities under these partnerships and many more health facilities are soon to follow.
Following the cabinet resolution of December 14th, 2021, Society for Family Health Rwanda as a key player in ensuring improved health for the Rwandan population entered into an agreement with the Government of Rwanda to oversee the management and operationalization of health posts in Rwanda.
The major aim of establishing these FGHP and SGHPs is to bring high quality health services closer to communities, reduce travel distance to health facilities from 1hr to 30 minutes which in turn reduces the financial related burden in seeking health services thereby improving the health seeking behaviour of the people living in these communities and ultimately improving their quality of life.