By: Government of Rwanda

Having adopted skills and expertise established to tackle the 2018 Ebola crisis, Rwanda has so far fundamentally controlled the spread of COVID-19. Soon after the COVID-19 outbreak in December 2019 and dreading its spread in the continent, Rwanda set up a multidisciplinary team to assess and strengthen preparedness and response to the epidemic.

The government’s strategy has been to ensure that the number of COVID-19 cases remain small so as not to overwhelm our health system. Precautions such as vigilant contact tracing, surveillance, quarantining of contacts, isolating and offering medical support to each COVID-19 case at the government’s cost have been deployed, and this is by no means low-priced to Government but very crucial to safeguard the health system and citizens.

With these challenges at hand, we recognize that even the most sophisticated healthcare systems in the world are struggling to handle the pandemic and this may be as result of partial investment in health. There is satisfactory data indicating that when public health is adequately funded, it is capable of protecting and improving population health. To progressively advance people’s health, the nation’s health system needs to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of the available resources in order to achieve noble health results.

The Rwanda uppermost Leadership, the Ministry of Health, various sectors and development partners have contributed enormously to the COVID 19 preparedness and response. However, this is not a one country business, the continent and the entire world need to team up like never before and strategize on the best way to invest in health as the greatest option to create a resilient, sustainable economic and health systems.

COVID-19 has hammered countries with a double knockdown, socially, health wise and economically. Policy/decision Makers face unprecedented challenges in financing health.

Majority health systems in African countries and other developing countries around the globe are overstretched and underfunded to start with, and the pandemic’s economic upshot further burdens national fiscal capacity.

It is therefore inevitable for Nations to handle the coronavirus pandemic crisis by taking on policies that improve health financing, the capability to captivate and respond to unpredictable shock wave in health spending and revenue generation is very paramount. Countries should rethink their way of investing in health and ensure that health financing is a collective matter that takes on a multi-sectorial involvement.

Prioritizing areas like Human resource for health, health technology, data management in emergency settings, sharing useful resources on COVID-19 and other pandemics, resetting the health governance architecture, promoting health financing, application of research and science based evidence are imperative in creating buoyant health systems.

COVID-19 shouldn’t leave a protracted negative impact, rather a turning point for countries to emerge from the crisis with health financing mechanisms appropriate for the future. The crisis powerfully demonstrates the need for stronger health systems and health financing mechanisms in order to enhance both universal health coverage (UHC) and health security.

Thus the African continent, has to exhilarate the ALM declaration which calls for strengthening African countries own commitments to reaching Universal Health Coverage, and to increasing domestic investments in health to guarantee health systems are well place to overcome both unpredicted and existing health encounters.

Writer:

Annette Gakwerere

Partnership Coordinator

Rwanda Ministry of Health

Health Minister Daniel Ngamije on behalf of the Government of Rwanda received from the Chinese Government a donation of medical equipment to support Rwanda’s COVID19 response efforts.

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