Supporting community health in Rwanda – brick by brick
Lucie Nyiranshuti is in charge of Community Health at Ntaruka Health Centre, and has been working here for several years.
There are 157 community health workers who work under her supervision. They do the leg-work of healthcare in rural Rwanda, spending almost all of their time busily visiting patients in remote villages, following up on pregnant mothers, newborn babies, illnesses, accidents etc.
Simple changes, huge difference
Save the Children has recently built a maternity ward at Ntaruka Health Centre. This includes a waiting room for mothers in the last stages of their pregnancy, a fully-equipped delivery room, and a room for post-partum care and recovery.
Typically, mothers who are about to give birth are accompanied to the Maternity Ward by their local community health worker, and Lucie and the specially trained birth attendants are there to meet them.
“We still need more space for storing medicine”, says Lucie, pointing to their dispensary room, which is equipped at the moment with a single refrigerator.
But she explains that Save the Children’s construction has already made a big difference to this health centre, especially once the third building – the admission block – is completed. “It’s organised now: men, women, children all know where to go”.
The Government of Rwanda has ambitious plans to ensure that even the most rural areas have access to basic health. Save the Children’s contribution to one centre through construction and supplies shows that, with a bit of support, the country’s healthcare is taking impressive steps forwards.