Rwanda-Complete Health Access By 2024

Rwanda-Complete Health Access By 2024

The big issue of Patients lining up and waiting long hours for treatment at the health centres and hospitals are expected to be resolved by the year 2024.

Rwanda will have full access to health services in the seven-year government programme said Rwanda’s Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente.

The programme will focus on three pillars, namely: economic, social and governance will see construction and equipping of new hospitals, health centres and post health centres.

The facilities enlisted include Masaka, Ruhengeri, Nabikenye, Munini, Byumba, Gatonde Gatunda, and Muhororo hospitals, of the 36 district hospitals and seven referral hospitals.

The government also plans to construct o17 health centres.

At the moment Rwanda has 1089 general practitioners, 10795 nurses, specialists 303, 752 midwives, and 1543 laboratory technicians but the country spends over $ 1 million in healthcare expenses on cases referred abroad.

Rwanda’s State Minister for Health Dr Patrick Ndimubanzi during the China Rwanda health forum in March said that the country has made almost 100 percent access to primary health care but very little has been done in tertiary health care resulting in the increase in demand for specialized health care and expenses in medical tourism.

Rwanda asked for support from Chinese medical experts in the tertiary health sector, especially with regards to investment in the production of pharmaceutical products and service to attain the secondary level of health care access.

All Rwandan will have access to health care with skills development for medics and medical staff and building pharmaceutical plants and conduct research in treatment said the premier to the parliament.

“Full-fledged centres of treatment will be established to treat non-communicable disease with the help of the private sector investments,” Ngirente said.

The government intends to reduce the ratio of a patient to doctor from 10,055 per doctor to 7,000 per one doctor and ratio of patients per nurse to reduce 1142/ nurse to 800 and from 2500 expectant mothers per midwife from 4,037.

The Prime minister also said that malnutrition should be eradicating

“Nutrition programs will be conducted at village level and every child will get milk in schools while continuing with the 1000 days breastfeeding and nutrition campaign for maternal support,” Ngirente said.

Dawa Ltd Plan To Expand To Nairobi, Kenya

Pharmaceutical Company Dawa Plan To Expand To Nairobi, Kenya

Leading Pharmaceutical Company Dawa are going to construct a US$ 30 million drugs in Nairobi, Kenya.

Dawa’s Mnaaging Director, Dr. Ajay Patel spoke on the proposed project, stating that , the manufacturing unit in Nairobi would help Dawa effectively open up markets in East and West Africa and help the company with expansion.

Mr. Patel also revealed that share-holders are currently in talks with financial advisors to raise the requisite funds for the project.

“A Year ago we achieved a turnover of US$ 20m from 2015’s US$ 17m which aids our strategy for expansion. We have plans to enter the Tanzanian market via a distribution network that we have now established,” Mr. kumar was quoted saying.

The new plant will be equipped to produce pain killers and medication to cure diabetic hypertensive and cardio-vascular issues, according to Dr. Patel.

Dawa is already known to have a stable market in Central and Western African nations such as Zambia, Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, Malawi and Ivory Coast, with this latest development is expected to further strengthen their hold onto that existing market.

App Made By Rwandan Students Doing The Rounds

App Made By Rwandan Students Doing The Rounds

Two Rwandan students hope to make a change in the Rwandan health and education sectors with their latest innovation! An app, that will provide useful information to the country’s teenagers on the subject of reproductive health, which is an important issue today.

The app is named, Tantine and is available to all android users. The app provides reliable information and could be of great use to young adults and parents in the country.

The app was developed by 21 year-old Uhirwa Sylvie and 23 year-old Muzungu Hirwa Sylvania, who are both pursuing their medical studies at the University of Rwanda.

Their work involves a team of professional medical doctors and psychologist, who work towards educating Rwandan teens and the general public on the same subject.

“We made the app with an aim of bringing those tablets and establishing a center where they [young people] can come and access the internet,” Sylvie told The Morning Call in a recent interview.

Statistics show that teenage pregnancies in Rwanda continue to be a serious problem despite the intervention of the government and other organizations. The lack of awareness is mainly culpable for this issue, and apps like Tantine could go a long way in helping to provide a solution with it’s information and simple interface.

Spanish Oncologists in Kigali to Hold Cancer Program

Spanish Oncologists in Kigali to Hold Cancer Program

Special training sessions will be held at the King Faisal Hospital, Kigali, conducted by a renowned Spanish oncologist. The program began on Monday and is expected to run until December.

It will be run online by professionals from the Catalan Institute of Oncology (ICO), a specialized institute based out of Catalonia, Spain. The program will cover the training of medical specialists, doctors nurses etc and is expected to cover a wide spectrum.

The program will cover the causes and effects of the Human Papillomavirus, commonly known as the HPV infection. The HPV infection is known to have an impact on cancers and benign diseases. HPV vaccines are available and information on its administrations, effectiveness and all other factors that are to be considered will be covered during the program.

This program is meant to keep the Rwandan medical community up to speed with the rest of the planet in terms of medical advancement and practices according to Andrea Malet, the corporate social responsibility manager at Oshen Health Care.

“The objective of this course is to keep updated medical professionals involved in preventing and treating cervical cancer in the latest procedures,” she said.

A special virtual classroom has also been created for those medical professionals involved with the treatment of cervical cancer, run by the Spaniards. This will provide the Rwandan medical community with free access to the e-learning platform.

Through this innovative new e-learning service the ICO provide an informative scheme including 5 programs and 80 courses that have as many 17,000 participants globally. It has also been translated into 7 languages. The main goal though remains the efficient and accurate propagation of important and relevant information for professionals concerned with the treatment of cancer.

Rwanda Continue To Delegate More Medical Interns

Rwanda Continue To Delegate More Medical Interns

The Minister of Health, Dr. Diane Gashumba has encouraged Rwandan medics to play a greater role in preserving the lives of the citizens. The remarks were made a few weeks back when a number of medical interns were deployed all across the nation.

Dr. Gashumba stressed on the importance of hard work and dedication from the interns, reminding them of the importance of their responsibilities. “Now that you have completed your studies, I urge you to work hard and, most importantly, make efforts to learn,” she said.

“This is quite a challenging profession that requires passion and strong love for it. However, regardless of the challenges, it’s a fulfilling call to be able to improve people’s lives,” the minister said, as she applauded the ambition of the interns.

This latest development comes barely a week after 90 medics inclusive of 44 doctors were called on to practice at provincial and district hospitals, while 44 specialists were made to station at referral hospitals.

The Minister of State and Public health, Dr. Patrick Ndimubanzi weighed in by directing the newest recruits to be effective and more solution-oriented.

“It is our delight to build our nation through improving health. We will do all that we can to deliver perfect medical services,” said Patience Nkusi, one of the interns.

83 of these interns are alumni in medicine from the prestigious University of Rwanda, while nine have graduated abroad.

The interns will function in 22 hospitals, including referral, provincial, and district as well as private hospitals such as Hospital La Croix du Sud and the King Faisal Hospital, Kigali. The doctors dispatched in the last week included 46 specialists in psychiatrics, pediatricians, gynecologists and internists.

Kenya Focuses On Safety And Quality Of Medicines

Kenya Focuses On Safety And Quality Of Medicines

The Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PPB) has planned a Sh300 million post-market surveillance lab to make sure medicines in the market are still as safe, effective and of quality as approved by the regulator.

Dr Obadiah Naikuni PPB’s Director of Quality Control said the new lab is very much capable of testing the quality of herbal medicines, cosmetics and food supplements.

“The new lab has enhanced the board’s capacity to combat substandard medicines, monitor treatment failures, drug resistance, adverse drug reactions among other crucial regulatory matters,” he said.

The Nairobi based lab, will be conducting tests on both imported drugs and locally-manufactured and pharmaceutical products to determine if they have complied with required standards.

Monitor quality Dr Naikuni said the new lab will support the work of mini-labs and specialized handheld drug-testing gadgets already deployed by the board in parts of the country to monitor quality and performance of medicines.

If samples are found by the mini labs to be non compliant with the required standards they will then be forwarded to the new lab for definitive testing and then necessary action will taken.

“For PPB to fully exercise its mandate, it has to therefore establish a laboratory which will be able to do post-market surveillance of all products under its regulatory mandate,” said Dr Naikuni. He also said that the lab will save a lot of money and time for post-market surveillance of pharmaceutical products.

KCB Bank, RIIO Collaborate To Eradicate Cataract Disease Across Rwanda

KCB Bank, RIIO Collaborate To Eradicate Cataract Disease Across Rwanda

KCB Bank Rwanda has collaborated with the International Institute of Ophthalmology (RIIO) to treat underprivileged patients suffering from cataract disease.

According to George Odhiambo, acting Managing Director, KCB Bank Rwanda, The partnership is part of the Bank’s social cooperate responsibility to contribute to economic development.

“The KCB Foundation supports various aspects of the local community through the Bank’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives under five key areas; education, enterprise development, health, environment and humanitarian aid,” he told The New Times adding that so far more than 20 patients have benefited from the deal.

Beneficiaries were picked from the districts of Gasabo and Nyarugenge whereby we are giving the most exposed preference mainly for eye surgery to cure cataract disease, he said, adding that the bank owes the community and therefore restoring of sight is part of the initiative to pay back and will go a long way in enabling one to be self-reliant which builds hope and promotes personal growth.

According to Odhiambo, it is essential for businesses to realise that they can still make profits while being socially responsible.
Dr Ciku Mathenge, RIIO’s manager and co-director, called on other private investors to partner with medical institutions and help bring down the cost and increase the quality of medical treatment in the country.

He urged all companies to come out and support this effort because it is through such partnerships that the cost of medical treatment will become more affordable and reliable to all.

Rwanda’s Medical Drone Delivery System wins 2017 Index Awards

Rwanda's Medical Drone Delivery System wins 2017 Index Awards

Medical drone Delivery Company Zipline’s which is based in USA but has a joint initiative with the government of Rwanda was the recipient of the 2017 Index Award, Body Category, in the Danish capital Copenhagen.

The Index Awards—often referred to as the Nobel Prize for Design— are the most prestigious awards in the field of design with previous winners including icons such as Apple’s Itunes and electric car giant Tesla. They have Awards, in five categories, having prize money of up to €500,000.

“Zipline is the first endeavor in world history using drones to deliver blood (and other essential medical supplies). “, the organizers of the Awards said.

“It is the result of a commendable, multi-partner approach featuring Silicon Valley company “Zipline – Lifesaving Deliveries” and the Rwandan Government, whose aim is to put every single one of their 12 million citizens within a 15-35 minute range for delivery of any essential medical product that they could need.”

Zipline co-founder Keenan Wyrobek choseof Rwanda as a partner to the Country standing out “as being data driven in their decision-making process and the most rigorous in how they analyse and manage risk in new projects. These two characteristics define Rwanda’s innovative spirit and made Rwanda the obvious launch partner for us”.

“Thanks to our visionary leadership, every life in Rwanda today matters. The government does all it can to find innovative solutions”, she said. “Leapfrogging inefficient systems is the only option we have to achieve our goals”, she added.

The Crown Princess of Denmark, HRH Mary was one of many dignitaries attending the awards.

Zipline won amongst 14 finalists in the body category.

Liberia Chairs Post Ebola Conference in Guinea

Liberia Chairs Post Ebola Conference in Guinea

The Steering Committee of the West African Consortium (WAC) on Ebola Vaccines, Therapeutics, Diagnostics and Survivor Care has announced the start of a three-day conference in Conakry, Guinea September 7-9. The conference, which will be held under the theme “Post-Ebola Health Challenges in West Africa,” aims to create a forum for scientists, researchers, ethicists, community members, policymakers, and research-related stakeholders to come together to discuss and develop common positions on post-EVD related medical, ethical, psychosocial, and community issues.

The conference format will include cross-cutting presentations from international organizations, symposia and panel discussions from the sub-region, and key policy and scientific presentations that will feed into a joint communique, as a call to action, at the end of the conference. The sub-regional collaboration was established in 2015 by the three countries most affected by the Ebola outbreak, namely Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, to seek collaboration and cooperation on vaccine and therapeutic clinical trials through a multi-country regional strategy. “We have been resolute in our decision to establish this sub-regional body on clinical research, Ebola virus vaccines and therapeutics as well as other emerging and re-emerging diseases,” notes Dr. Moses Massaquoi, chair of WAC representing Liberia. “Our ardent hope is that our governments provide us the necessary support and the political will for the implementation of this common and important duty in fostering clinical research for emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases,” he added.

The conference is expected to share best practices and preliminary findings on efforts to identify and address post-EVD health-related challenges in the sub-region. Members of the three most affected countries and collaborating partners of the consortium are also expected to make presentations on EVD research activities with an emphasis on current topics relevant to clinical research in the region. Presentations will address four thematic areas: 1) Improving Clinical Care and Addressing Stigma and Policy-Related Issues of Survivors; 2) Advancing Vaccines, Therapeutics, and Diagnostics for Emerging Infectious Diseases; 3) Strengthening Research Collaboration, Capacity Building, and Community Empowerment; and 4) Strengthening Collaboration on “One Health” Strategy on the Global Health Security Agenda in the West Africa sub-region.

Key stakeholders include the U. S. National Institutes of Health (NIH); the Joint Liberia-U.S. Clinical Partnership for Research on Ebola Virus in Liberia (PREVAIL); the Mano River Union (MRU); the West African Health Organization (WAHO); the West African Taskforce for the Control of Emerging & Re-emerging Infectious Diseases (WATER); the World Health Organization (WHO); the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM); the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM); and the Ministries of Health (MoHs) of the three countries involved, among others. As a result, the scientific leaderships of these countries underscore the need for sub-regional and regional collaboration to control and end the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, as well as to identify and seek solutions to mitigate post-EVD related sequels. “Although the three countries most affected by the Ebola outbreak paid a very high premium, they have contributed significantly to clinical research on drugs, vaccines, and diagnostic tests,” notes Professor Mandy Kader Konde, co-chair of WAC representing Guinea. “They were able to show that findings from health research studies have significant impacts on strengthening the response to emerging infectious diseases as well as the global health security agenda. We are hopeful that this forum of scientists will foster discussions that will lead to the creation of a framework to promote and sustain capacity building to mitigate future outbreaks and manage post-Ebola health challenges among survivors,” he added.

According to the WAC leadership, regional collaboration adds value to the research capacity of each member state of the consortium and strengthens clinical research platforms in the sub-region. They believe that this is the preferred strategy to address problems of the weakened health system and improve long term global health security. Dr. Alie Wurie, co-chair from Sierra Leone, expressed satisfaction over the level of support and collaboration WAC continues to receive from donors, partners and the various Ministries of Health. “We are hopeful that this forum of scientists will allow enough discussion on the real post-Ebola health challenges, but above all to create the framework for a sustainable capacity building of young researchers to see how research can continue to be useful for improving the health of communities,” he added.

Rooibos tea-drinkers less likely to suffer from heart disease

Rooibos tea-drinkers less likely to suffer from heart disease

Despite numerous advances in medical technology the prevalence of heart disease continues to escalate. In South Africa, it remains the number one killer after HIV/AIDS and deaths related to heart and blood vessel diseases are expected to increase by 41% in the next 13 years.

Experts are now saying there may be merit in incorporating alternative ways to prevent and treat heart disease.

The challenge, according to Dr Dawie van Velden – a medical professional with an interest in integrative medicine and whole person wellness – is that the prevalence of the major risk factors behind cardiovascular disease (CVD) has increased substantially in the last decade.

“The biggest single risk factor by far is high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, which affects one in three South African adults. Hypertension is exacerbated by poor eating habits, obesity, lack of physical activity and excessive alcohol intake.

“Across the world, we are seeing a huge move towards alternative and more natural ways of treating illnesses, such as heart disease, which is primarily a result of poor lifestyle behaviours. These natural methods include everything from diet, exercise, smoking cessation to destressing via music therapy, meditation, and even drinking home-brewed rooibos tea,” he remarks.

We know that a diet low in salt and sugar, and regular exercise can lower your risk of heart disease, but just how might rooibos tea help your heart and how strong is the evidence?

A study conducted in Sweden found that 30 to 60 minutes after drinking 400ml of Rooibos, the activity of the angiotensin-converting enzyme or ACE is significantly suppressed. This enzyme is believed to be involved in the development of heart disease and therefore ACE inhibitors are often prescribed to treat hypertension and heart disease.

Dr van Velden explains that when blood vessels constrict, blood pressure increases, putting you at greater risk of heart attack or stroke. “Rooibos tea is known as a bronchodilator, which not only relieves respiratory conditions, but also reduces high blood pressure. It works in similar fashion to ACE inhibitors and helps blood vessels to relax and widen, making it easier for blood to flow through.

“Spanish researchers also found that drinking rooibos can prevent the development of heart disease by preventing the liver from storing excessive fat under the skin and around major organs, while another study by the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) showed a positive effect in adults at risk of heart disease, who drank six cups of Rooibos every day for six weeks. The study found that rooibos not only protected against oxidative lipid damage, but also favourably improved the lipid profile of the participants by reducing total blood cholesterol levels by 10%, with a significant reduction in “bad” LDL cholesterol levels, as well as a significant increase in the “good” HDL-cholesterol.

“I’m not saying that you should abandon conventional treatment, but there is a mounting body of scientific evidence which shows that rooibos tea is a potent antioxidant, has anti-inflammatory, antihypertensive and cholesterol lowering properties.

“Drinking rooibos tea ticks a lot of the boxes when it comes to maintaining heart health, so make it a daily health choice alongside your five or six portions a day of fruit and vegetables. Rooibos tea as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle may play a signifcant role in preventing cardiovascular disease,” says Dr van Velden.

According to the SA Rooibos Council (SARC), the main heart-health promoting substances in rooibos may be attributed to the polyphenolic antioxidants in this herbal tea. Rooibos tea contain flavones and flavonols such as quercetin that exhibits an ACE inhibitory action. It helps to prevent and treat cardiovascular disease by inhibiting the migration of smooth muscle cells inside the arteries, a key cause of the narrowing or hardening of the arteries that may lead to a heart attack. These phytochemicals help to lower blood pressure and may relieve vasoconstriction.