Rwanda’s health achievements after Genocide ‘unbelievable’

(L-R): The World Health Organisation regional director for Africa Dr Moeti, Dr Diane Gashumba and Dr Jeannine Condo lay a wreath at Kigali Genocide Memorial. / Sam Ngendahimana

The World Health Organisation Regional Director for Africa Dr. Matshidiso Moeti has described Rwanda’s achievements in the health sector after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi as “unbelievable.”

Matshidiso made the remarks while visiting the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre in Gisozi yesterday, where she alongside other officials was taken through the story of the genocide that claimed about a million lives.

“It is unbelievable what the government has achieved starting from such a low point and building one of the most equitable health systems that we have in Africa in a low income country through strategic leadership, and determination,” she said.

Among the achievements she cited the 91 percent health insurance coverage of the Rwandan population.

“It makes sure that everyone gets basic health care in the country whether they are in towns or in villages; whether they are wealthy or poor. It is one of the most admirable health results and progress that we have as an example on the continent,” she said.

After visiting the memorial centre, Matshidiso said it is difficult to put into words the experience one gets after learning about the atrocities that were committed and the history that led to the Genocide.

She added that the genocide is something that no one must forget as she cited one of the touching experiences she heard.

“I think what touches me the most is the stories of the survivors, the poignant memories that they have. There is a young couple of survivors who met at university and married and one of the most touching things I heard about them was that there were not so many adults at their wedding because their families had gone,” she said.

She said she will take home with her important lessons of reconciliation and peace as well as ensuring that such events never happen again.


Dr Matshidiso Moeti and other officials tour inside Kigali Genocide memorial yesterday. / Sam Ngendahimana

She hailed Rwandans for the achievements made especially concerning reconciliation, encouraging them to carry it onto the subsequent generations “to be an example for the rest of the African countries,

“My main message to Rwandan people is to thank them for having shown this great example for building peace at the community level, for translating these painful experiences into such good strategies which particularly focus on justice, on finance and on accountability,” she said.

“I have heard that the president insists that plans should not be pieces of paper; he is following up to make sure that results are being obtained and I have understood that it is a strong principle throughout the country,” she said.

Matshidiso is in the country for the Africa Health Forum of the World Health Organisation in the African region. The two day meeting starts today aiming at charting the future of healthcare across the region and the continent.

Source: The New Times

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