UAE-driven initiative improves health care for 20,000 in rural Rwanda

More than 80 per cent of the population lives in areas where mountainous terrain makes visiting health centres a challenge

Beyond2020 has improved access to health services for 20,000 rural Rwandans.

A UAE-driven initiative to support rural communities in Africa has helped to deliver healthcare services to about 20,000 people in Rwanda.

The latest efforts bring sustainable and affordable primary care to Rwanda’s Nyaruguru and Rubavu districts, which lag behind the rest of the country in terms of health access.

Beyond2020 is a humanitarian initiative launched by the Zayed Sustainability Prize in collaboration with leading local and international organisations. The initiative offers critical, life-transforming solutions to people in remote, vulnerable communities around the world.

Rwanda marks the 11th phase of the initiative. Through this deployment, four clinics have been set up in disadvantaged communities, and four nurses have been trained in business management.

Twelve new jobs have also been created to support operations across the four clinics, which provide direct surveillance, screening and referral of any suspected cases of Covid-19 or other emerging epidemics.

The clinics work by using a mobile health system, enabling nurses to manage patient records electronically.

Rwanda is known as the “land of 1,000 hills”. More than 80 per cent of its population lives in rural areas where the mountainous terrain makes gaining access to distant health facilities a challenge.

Community access to primary care remains a barrier to the nation's progress and causes people to seek health care later and less often. This means preventable and treatable illnesses can become life-threatening.

To combat this, Rwanda’s Ministry of Health signed an agreement with One Family Health, a global non-profit organisation and Zayed Sustainability Prize 2020 finalist, to establish 500 clinics in rural communities. A total of 156 clinics have already been opened.

The clinics work by using a mobile health system which enables nurses to manage patient records electronically, and allows healthcare workers to increase their efficiency and accuracy when dealing with patients in rural areas.

“The beauty of the Zayed Sustainability Prize and the Beyond2020 initiative is that we've been able to come to four communities that may not have got a health post for two or three years,” said Mark Wagstaff, country director at One Family Health, in a promotional video.

Beyond2020 works in partnership with a number of industry leaders, including the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, Mubadala Petroleum and Masdar.

“The UAE is proud to support critical access to health care in Rwanda through its humanitarian initiative, Beyond2020,” said the UAE's ambassador to Rwanda, Hazza Mohammed Al Qahtani.

“Responding to the Covid-19 pandemic has been the greatest test for health services globally.

“Expanding access to robust and resilient healthcare systems is of pivotal importance in managing the post-Covid-19 recovery, especially when it comes to overcoming service disruptions.”

Ten deployments have been made — including energy, health, water and food-related assistance — in Nepal, Tanzania, Uganda, Jordan, Egypt, Cambodia, Madagascar, Indonesia, Bangladesh and the Philippines.

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Updated: December 27th 2021, 12:41 PM