Sunday, 28 April 2013

KCC to improve urban health


Mothers at a health facility in Kicukiro District; Kigali City has laid strategies to improve access of the urban population to quality health services.
In a bid to improve urban health, Kigali City Council (KCC) in collaboration with the Belgian Technical cooperation (BTC) has laid strategies to improve access of the urban population to quality health services.
The strategies include improving efficiency in the management of existing infrastructure such as health centres and hospitals through proper coordination of their activities and proper management of referrals from one level to another.
KCC and BTC also have a plan to increase the capacity of service providers by training practicing doctors, nurses and other health professionals and investing in equipment and building new health facilities to cater for ever increasing population and geographical extension of the City.
The Vice Mayor in charge of Social Affairs at KCC, Hope Tumukunde, said the council has established a support program for health development that is specifically dedicated to addressing specific health issues of an urban setting.
“We have achieved a lot that we have to capitalize on to respond to health and environmental challenges related to the growth of our City.  If you look at health infrastructure, equipment, improved coordination; these are the best we can have in this country,” she said. “Given the specific realities of the capital City, there’s no reason we shouldn’t have medicalised health centres.”
Medicalising health centres means the provision of a medical doctor for a health centre, either permanently or on temporary basis.  With the provision of medical doctors, the minimum package of services provided at the health centre level will be improved. 
Tumukunde added that the city has a health development strategic plan that helps streamline all interventions to respond to increasing demands for health services.
Plans are also under way to extend services to city residents through construction of new health facilities such as new health centres in Mageragere, Remera, Kanyinya and Gatenga.
The health centres have the capacity to serve more than 10 percent of the current urban population, the official said.
Besides adequate equipment, the new health facilities will be provided with medical doctors and some hospital level professionals to enable them provide better services to communities.
The health centres will also be funded by Belgium and will serve more than 10 percent of the population of Kigali City. The demographic annual growth rate of the City of Kigali is estimated at 4 percent.
Tumukunde said that efforts will also doubled in sensitizing communities to prevent diseases through maintaining proper hygiene.
Kigali City population is expected to double by 2020, close to two million inhabitants according to forecasts. This growth goes with increasing demand for basic health services but also puts unrelenting pressure on the environment.
While the World Health Organization (WHO) advises that one health centre should serve 20,000 inhabitants, each of the existing health centres in Rwanda serves more than 40,000.
With the support of BTC, the City Council has developed a comprehensive framework for a better planning of appropriate responses to increasing demand for health services.
The achievements of the 4-year program to which Belgium contributed Rwf 13 billion include the construction and equipment of the four new health centres of Gatenga, Mageragere, Kanyinya, and Remera.


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