How Mishungero HP is giving hope to the population
It is painted blue like other health posts in the country built by Society for Family Health (SFH) Rwanda; its outlook reminds you of these health posts that are helping Rwanda lead Africa in terms of access to health care services at a walkable distance, especially in rural areas. But Mishungero Health post located in Nyabimata Sector in Nyaruguru district carries yet another unique striking feature, a smile of hope that most people in Mishungero and neighboring sectors had given up; to have their teeth colour restored.
“When I tried to get my teeth cleaned last year, my parents couldn’t give me transport to the district hospital because they thought it is not important,” said Nadine Akimana, 17.
Akimana always feels inferior among her peers as they make fun of her stained teeth which normally affects her confidence and performance in school, but as she gazes at the health post 300 meters from her home, her glowing eyes tell you how hope has been restored in her heart.
“Every time I sit in our compound and look at Mishungero HP, I always know that God has answered my prayers, at least now I know I will get someone to love me when I grow up,” the jolly Akimana said. Mishungero cell and the neighboring cells are grappling with oral health issues such as stained teeth, halitosis, crowded and decaying teeth.
“Dental services are provided at a health centre and district hospital which requires one to spend over Rwf6,000 on a motorcycle, which is more expensive,” said Rachel Nyiranziza, a community health worker in Mishingero cell. For Ildephonse Hagenimana, a farmer and father of four, the health facility comes as a solution to two of his decayed teeth which he has been nursing for the last three years.
“It required me a whole day or two to seek for treatment to the district hospital, but because this health facility is near me, I finished my work and went there in the evening, am happy that my problem has been solved,” he said.
Accordingly, the health post receives over 40 patients seeking dental services in a day. The facility is equipped with state of the art ultrasonic dental cleaner which cleans teeth and restores their whiteness; oral health care information is also provided to help people prevent oral related diseases.
“The oral health issues people are facing are all treatable,” said Marie Claire Nyirakanyana, who oversees Mishungero health post.
“Most people could not go to the seek treatment because they could not manage transport which has been a challenge, but with this health post, more people now are going for treatment,” Nyiranziza added.
Yozefa Hatungineza and other parents in the area have already benefited from the health facility. As such the population has benefited from reduced distance to a health facility and time saving which increases productivity of the people in the area.
“When my two children fell sick from malaria, my husband carried one and I carried the other and walked for only five minutes to the health post, I don’t know what I would have done if it wasn’t there,” she said.
According to Nyiranziza, there is need for a health post to operate 24 hours since sometimes people who fall sick at night get challenges accessing treatment. Currently, the facility is managed by Nyabimata Health centre which sometimes makes it difficult to have fulltime staff at the facility.
Under the Government’s health structure, health posts are operated by private operators who are selected by the Ministry to strength service delivery at the grass root level. So far, a private operator has been selected and trained by the Society for Family Health (SFH) Rwanda.
“Am that happy that I have been selected to operate Mishungero health post and thank SFH Rwanda for training me on entrepreneurship, management and customer service to help serve people better,” Francoise Mukabadege said.
Mukabadege says the health post will start operating 24 hours with a staff that will be able to receive patients at night; something she says will help improve access to health services in the area.
Currently, the health facility receives between 2000-2500 patients in a month and expected to increase when the health facility operates 24 hours. The facility will also have day and night maternity services as well as emergencies.
She says that people in the area are aware of the importance of seeking treatment whenever they fall sick as well as checkups to ensure that their health is good, “so giving them better services will improve their livelihoods as they will stay healthy and productive.”
SFH Rwanda supports the Ministries of Health and Local Government to strengthen the functionality of these health posts and improve quality of healthcare using Public Private Community Partnership (PPP) model. The move is part of the country’s efforts to attain Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
Mishungero is among the Second-Generation Health Posts (SGHP) across the country which provides additional services such as maternal services, dental services, and prenatal consultations which the first Generation health posts do not provide.
Accordingly, in an effort to improve geographical accessibility to healthcare services, continuity of services and ensure Universal Health Coverage (U HC), the Ministry of Health initiated a national program to set up health posts at cell level, where the population can access health services within a walkable of 15 to 30 minutes.
Mishungero is among the 10 SGHPs benefiting from the improved access and quality of Health Care services in the catchment areas of established SGHP through human capital capacity building program by SFH Rwanda in partnership with Abbott, SC Jonson and UNICEF Rwanda that supported the two SGHP in Nyaruguru District.
Hence, SGHP have posted a positive outlook by January 2021 serving over 137,000 patients served, averaging 1,070 visitors per month, over 38,580 respiratory infections treated, 37,190 malaria tests delivered with over 4,200 positive cases treated, 27,470 cases of intestinal parasites resolved, 4,120 new participants in family planning, 1120 Antenatal care visits and over 585 babies safely delivered.