Queen is eight years, last term she scored high in English, and she is proud to read everything written in English; in books, on people’s t-shirts, signposts, and this time, she picks people’s attention as she reads aloud.
“In grateful appreciation to Dr Herbert Fisk Johnson III for your generous support to construct this health post which will make a huge difference in the lives of so many people. Thank you.” She smilingly looks at people seated on the bench while translating in Kinyarwanda what she had read.
She is not at school, neither is she at church but at Rugando Health Post in Rugando cell, Kimihurura sector in city of Kigali, a new health post that was constructed by Society for Health Rwanda-SFH Rwanda in partnership with Ministry of health with support from Dr Herbert Fisk of SC Johnson. SC Johnson, is an American business company.
Locals refer to the health post as ibitaro by’ubururu literally meaning the Blue Health facility because of its blue colour.
“Am here with my elder sister, she hurt her leg and wants her wound to be dressed,” she explains. Like Queen and her sister, many people see the health post as a blessing to their long-awaited request to have a health facility within their reach. The two health facilities that serve the population around are kacyiru and Remera Health centers.
“When you want to get treatment, you go to Kacyiru health center and sometimes there are many patients which requires you to wait for long hours before you get treatment,” said Claudine Dusabe, a resident of Gasasa village in Rugando cell.
She adds, “I used to spend Rwf 1000 to and from Kacyiru health centre but now I use only two minutes to walk to the health post.”
Accordingly, the health post is helping people to cut down cost of transport, spend less time waiting for services as well as decongest the two health centers where patients with minor cases such as dressing a wound would go to. Its location also helps to serve the underserved villages in Rugando cell, Kimihurura cell, in Kimihurura Sector, Rukiri I and parts of Rukiri II cells in Remera Sector.
Most people say they cannot afford private dispensaries and clinics around which don’t use insurance cover-Mutuelle De Sante which leaves them with no option but to go the health centers of Kacyiru and Remera.
Valentine Mujawamariya had to always close her shop whenever she is taking her child to Remera health Centre but with Rugando health post, which is just next to her home, she doesn’t need to close the shop. “I am happy that they have brought this health post here, I no longer need to close my business and lose customers, I leave my neighbor for a few minutes,” she said.
The health post is also helping community health workers to get quick referrals to cases that they may not handle immediately. “I at times get people with high fever that I may not make all the tests, when I find they don’t have malaria, I walk this person to the health post for checkup because it is near,” says Leonne Gatoyerurema, a Community health worker in Rukiri I in Remera sector.
Jean d’Amour Barabwiriza, the Rugando Health post Operator says that the facility has been receiving patients with different cases which some cannot be handled at the health post.
“The response has been good, we have been receiving people who are asking for dental, eye and antenatal services as well as reproductive health packages for the youth like pregnancy testing and HIV/AIDS, which we don’t have,” he said.
Barabwiriza who took over from Kacyiru health center as a private operator for the health post on 1st December 2021 thanked SFH Rwanda for the support and echoed the need for assistance to equip the facility to a second generation and a youth friendly health post.
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, Ministry of Health indicates.
“From our previous experience where we placed second generation health posts, we have seen mothers able to go for antenatal care and giving birth from a health facility,” Manasseh Gihana, Executive Director, SFH Rwanda earlier said.
Most Youth are asking for products such condoms at the health center.
In a bid to provide better services and management of the lower health facilities at cell level- the government gave health posts to private operators, for Rugando, Kacyiru health center was using the facility before they got the private operator.
“Residents told us, they were receiving good services but wanted to increase working hours, so we solved this, and we now work twenty-four hours, but equipment and some kits are still a challenge,” he said
Nevertheless, Barabwiriza says that the challenge of health insurance is impeding many people from getting treatment from the health post.
“Since we took over, we have been waiting to be integrated into the system to start serving people using Mutuelle De santé and most people cannot manage paying on private basis which tends to be expensive for them,” he added.
The Rugando health post is one of the 194 health posts constructed by SFH Rwanda in line with Government’s plan of ensuring that people access health services within 25 minutes walkable distance which is posting a positive outlook for the country’s health sector.