Community Health Workers’ system has registered a success that may soon be used among tips that countries need to fast track sustainable development goals (SDGs), the health pillar.
Community Health Workers (CHW) are community members who volunteer to be trained through a government program that aims at making sure that community members are taken care of, health-wise.
These health workers spend much of their free time moving from home to home in their villages. In addition to diagnosing malaria and prescribing treatment, the health workers are trained to give first aid, provide nutritional advice and help women give birth.
On Thursday, Dr Tedros Adhanon Ghebreyesus, World Health Organisation Director General started his two-day visit to Rwanda in Bugesera district where he saw atrocities of the Genocide, as presented at Nyamata genocide memorial.
After this, he visited Mayange Health Centre in Bugesera district, where he witnessed the work of Community Health Workers who are now contributing to Rwanda’s recovery.
He was shown how 105 Community Health workers (two per village) who report at this health centre dedicate part of their day to domestic chores and another, to the health of their neighbours.
The health centre gives them a cell phone where they can be reached by whoever needs their support.
They are also given a set of instruments, commonly known as Rapid Test Kit. It includes a medical thermometer, basic medicine for malaria, fingertip tool for a blood sample to test for malaria, notebook and a pen.
Before starting domestic or farming activities, CHWs first do a tour in their neighbourhood like a medical practitioner in a hospital.
If for example, a patient is tested malaria positive, the Health Worker gives him a tablet to swallow and quickly registers the case and reports to the health centre right away.
This helps the health centre to take appropriate measure towards a patient as a matter of urgency.
The Health Workers diagnose and treat malaria, diarrhoea, and pneumonia; give family planning advice; facilitate outreach for vaccination, and sensitize residents on HIV.
Thanks to the involvement of CHW, Mayange centre recorded 100% of community health insurance Mutuelle de Santé contribution.
Moreover, 100% of mothers in this area deliver at the hospital.
Tedros said, such a system is delivering results without precedent.
“Rwanda is one of the few countries that achieved Millennium Development Goals. From what I see on ground, there is no doubt this country will achieve SDGs,” he said.
Adopted by all 193 UN Member States, the SDGs are 17 ambitious goals to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice and tackle climate change for everyone by 2030, among other goals.
In January last year, SDGs Centre for Africa was launched in Rwanda’s capital Kigali, with an estimated $1.2 trillion annual budget required to achieve SDGs in Africa.
The continent needs to set aside $25 billion annually to achieve universal access to modern energy services by 2030; $18 billion for climate change adoption, $210 billion for basic infrastructure, food security, health, security and climate change mitigation.
Rwanda has already started implementing SDGs.
Dr Tedros said: “WHO will continue to work with Rwanda to domesticate SDGs.”
Rwanda is the host of SDGs Centre for Africa. President Kagame co-chairs the Centre along with 15 other members including Prof. Jeffrey Sachs – Director of US-based Earth Institute, Nigerian tycoon Aliko Dangote, and Dr Akinwumi Adesina, African Development Bank president.