Rwanda to increase healthcare workers by four times

By Théophile Niyitegeka
On 14 July 2023 at 08:38

The Minister of Health, Dr. Sabin Nsanzimana has revealed that Rwanda plans to increase the number of healthcare workers by four times in order to tackle challenges facing the health sector.

He made the disclosure on July 13, 2023, upon the completion of the Ingobyi Activity project, which aimed to reduce maternal and infant mortality rates.

Dr. Nsanzimana also disclosed that the ministry intends to enhance the capabilities of health centers to perform Cesarean surgeries with minimal complications, thereby eliminating the need for long-distance patient transfers to referral hospitals.

Besides, the minister emphasized the reinforcement of primary healthcare services to decrease maternal and infant mortality rates. As a result of these initiatives, hospitals will primarily focus on complex cases, leading to a reduction in ambulance traffic transporting patients to hospitals.

One of the factors contributing to maternity and infant mortality is the scarcity of healthcare professionals in Rwanda. A shortage of healthcare providers has resulted in a single doctor attending to multiple patients, leading to delayed access to healthcare for some individuals.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a minimum healthcare workers per 1000 people. However, only a few African countries reached the target, with the number sometimes dropping to one healthcare worker.

"The plan has been finalized and approved. We are going to increase the number of healthcare workers by four times over the next four years," stated Minister Nsanzimana.

The plan encompasses the recruitment of nurses, midwives, medical laboratory scientists, and other healthcare professionals.

The Ingobyi Activity project was implemented in 20 districts across Rwanda, covering 325 health centers and 27 hospitals.

The initiatives included research to identify the causes of maternal and infant mortality, training for healthcare workers and community health workers in malaria prevention, equipment donations, and the establishment of toll-free lines that will remain operational beyond the conclusion of the project.

As a result of these interventions, infant mortality rates have significantly decreased from 177 in 2018 to 87 in 2022 and further down to 59 in 2023 at the health centers and other hospitals involved in the project.

A healthcare practitioner attending to a patient at Gatonde Hospital.
Minister Nsanzimana has disclosed that Rwanda intends to enhance the capabilities of health centers to perform Cesarean surgeries.