On Tuesday 19, October 2021, SFH Rwanda Executive Director, Manasseh Gihana Wandera, and SFH Senior Management members, received the Deputy Chief of Mission of the U.S. Embassy Rwanda, Mrs. Deborah MacLean and U.S. CDC Country Director in Rwanda, Dr. Thierry Roels, for a working visit at the SFH Rwanda HQ in Kigali.
During her visit, the US deputy Chief of Mission was guided through several key health areas of intervention and programs including social behaviour change and social marketing of health products that SFH Rwanda implements in 30 districts of Rwanda. More specifically, the US Deputy Chiel of Mission wanted to learn more about the implementation progress of the Evidence-Based Prevention Intervention for Key and Priority Populations in Rwanda under PEPFAR.
In 2019, the Society for Family Health (SFH) Rwanda received a PEPFAR grant from the Center for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) to implement specific interventions targeting Key Populations and Priority Populations in Rwanda.
The project aims at providing HIV prevention, voluntary testing, and treatment services to key populations (KPs) in Rwanda through finding new positives using 3 testing modalities (community index, community_VCT, and community mobile); maintaining positive KPs on treatment to attain viral suppression, as well as providing prevention services to KPs including provision of PrEP and HVST kits.
The CDC project is a 5-years funded program, of which, in the previous two years had since recorded great achievements towards HIV prevention and reduction of new infections as the Global Goal and now in its 3rd year of implementation.
‘’From working with SFH, I’m quite impressed with the quality of data, the way they meet targets and impact recorded especially in comparison with other partners elsewhere in the world. What’s your secret sauce? asked the CDC Rwanda country Director, Thierry Roels. He also recommended a field visit with the DCM to see first-hand the program implementation.
‘’Our secret sauce is our experienced staff, being result focused, adapting to challenges as they come and creating solutions as a team’’ replied the SFH Executive Director. He, furthermore, added that the great collaboration and partnership with the health facilities, local government, the Ministry of Health and RBC in empowering Rwandan communities to adopt healthier behaviours and improve their lives has been another key for the achievements met, and we believe that we shall achieve the set target for the rest of the program implementation said Manasseh.
Upon completion of the work visit, the Deputy Chief of Mission commended SFH Rwanda for the successes recorded and encouraged them to keep the momentum.
Rwanda is one of the few countries that is on the brink of achieving epidemic control having achieved 84-98-90 against the UNAIDS target of 90-90-90 by 2020 (2) showing a glaring gap in reaching the 1st 90. Targeting key populations and their clients, who in 2019 accounted for over 60% of all new HIV infections, is worthwhile strategy in breaking this gridlock