Seeing is believing – CEO Forum members visit SGHP in Gicumbi
UNICEF organized a field visit to a heath post for corporates committed to championing child rights to witness the impact of UNICEF interventions in the community and consider ways through which they can align with these efforts.
Members of the recently launched "CEO Council for Children" yesterday visited Gira Ubuzima Health Post in Gishambashayo, Gicumbi District, in Northern Rwanda.
The group featured representatives of private companies in Rwanda from various industries including Crystal Ventuers LTD, Sanlam, Cogebanque, Ngali Holdings, IHS Towers, Africa Medical Supplies (AMS) LTD, Bank of Kigali, Sorwathe, I&M Bank, and Wolfram Mining and Processing Company LTD.
The CEO Council for Children is composed of top CEOs from leading private companies across Rwanda who advocate for, participate in dialogue, and implement child-friendly policies at their respective areas of business while sharing a common voice for children’s rights.
The visit was aimed at showcasing to the private sector potential areas in which they can consider supporting as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility to society.
Speaking after the visit, UNICEF Chief of Health and Nutrition Ms. Julia Battle noted that the Second-Generation Health Post (SGHP) offers all critical primary health care services to the surrounding community including newborns, infants, and mothers, which has been a big boost to the local community in terms of their overall wellbeing and access to quality healthcare.
The Girubuzima Second-Generation Health Post, and many others would like to have similar health facilities set up in various parts of the country, provide an expanded range of preventive, promotive and curative health services including ophthalmology, dental care and maternity services, among others.
“Antenatal care, skilled care around childbirth, immediate essential newborn care and post-natal care follow up and childhood immunization services are all available here,” Ms. Battle noted.
“They also do integrated management of newborn and childhood illness for children as they get older, protocols are in place to treat some of the major killers of children like Diarrhea, upper-respiratory diseases like Pneumonia, and if there are complications, and more serious conditions like Severe Acute Malnutrition, then the child is referred to the District Hospital,” Staff in the SGHP are also trained to back-stop CHWs in their routine health activities, said Ms. Battle.
“Antenatal care, skilled care around childbirth, immediate essential newborn care and post-natal care follow up and childhood immunization services are all available here.”
The Executive Director of Society for Family Health (SFH) in Rwanda, Mr. Mannaseh Gihana Wandera, gave a tour of the premises and impressed upon the company representatives that Health Posts such as the one visited are having a massive impact in the community, serving more than 4,000 patients monthly and has significantly reduced financial hardship and the burden of having to travel a long distance to the nearest Health Center.
He also pointed out that the Health Posts are a testament to the power of collaboration and pooling resources as opposed to working in silos, since the Gira Ubuzima Health Post in Gishambashayo was constructed via a multi-partner effort with each partner bringing to the table their technical expertise, financial resources and in-kind support.
“We are thankful to UNICEF for providing technical support and capacity building of staff at two similar health post in Nyaruguru district and contributing towards staff salaries to ensure the healthpost is up and running for at least the first six months since their establishment ,” he highlighted.
“After the six-month period, to ensure long-term sustainability of this project, we are facilitating discussions with private operators to take over the daily running of the health post, to ensure continuity of service provision even after the donors have exited,” he added.
The financial viability of running the health center was touched upon, with Mr. Gihana pointing out that feasibility studies were conducted, and they revealed that net profits from running the health post can accrue to anywhere between $300 – $1,000, depending on the location of the health post.
“The aim is to upgrade all 1,100 existing first-generation health posts to second generation status and establishing new 600 SGHPs, and the support of the private sector companies will be crucial if we are to attain this target,” he emphasized.
“We are thankful to UNICEF for providing technical support and capacity building of staff at two similar health post in Nyaruguru district and contributing towards staff salaries to ensure the healthpost is up and running for at least the first six months since their establishment."
To further cement the sustainability and independent functionality of the health posts, an agreement was reached with the Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB) to recover costs of treating patients who are covered under the local health insurance scheme Mutuelle de Sante.
The idea of second-generation health posts was introduced and tested in 2018 and officially launched in September 2019.
These health posts are part of the Rwanda Universal Health Coverage programme to help bring accessible, affordable, and enhanced quality health care services to rural communities in Rwanda.
They aim at providing primary health care within a 30-minute walk of all Rwandans' homes as part of the efforts to improve patient outcomes and quality of life, while reducing the workload at higher levels of care, such as health centres and district hospitals.
Since then, with UNICEF support, two new SGHPS health posts have been established and more are to come. The aim is to construct 700 second generation health posts by the end of 2024, helping increase access to quality healthcare services to thousands of residents of hard-to-reach areas in the country.