Rwanda Information Portal

The Diaspora, a valuable resource to Rwanda’s development

Ndera hospital’s patient file system got digitized thanks to MiDA

Ndera hospital’s patient file system got digitized thanks to MiDA

When you visit the Kigali university teaching hos­pital (CHUK), you find all the documents being pro­cessed, data entered, and many of the response provided through ICT tools and online methods. That is courte­sy of the Migration for Development (MiDA) program, which brings in Rwandan (and regional) experts from the Diaspora community in order to transfer their skills to compatriots in the mother country.

The objectives of the project in CHUK’s case, as ex­plained by Dr Martin Nyundo who heads the MiDA fo­cal point at the hospital, were a need to provide quality service to patients, and promote the quality of data and research. Capacity building was offered to the admistra­tive and nursing staff at CHUK, Muhima and Kibagaba hospitals, and in the field of medical computer applica­tions to improve management, research and networking between the hospitals.

The hospital acquired equipment and systems for managing data (20 PCs), and the staff attended training and research in medical information technology; basic computer skills, collection, centralization and analysis; management of internal and external communication; and workshops on medical ICT. A number of 348 em­ployees were trained.

An IT employee at the hospital who didn’t want to be named for professional reasons told The Rwanda Focus that when he started working at the hospital, they were still using paper patients’ files. “It was challenging be­cause it could take a long time to find someone’s file,” she said.

Since mid last year, that has become history – all the files have now been transferred to an electronic database.

According to Eugene Kandekwe, MiDA’s national coordinator, experts from the Rwandan Diaspora have helped in other programs including Ndera mental health hospital, Gihundwe district hospital, the Kigali Institute of Science and Technology, the Institute of Ag­riculture and Animal Husbandry (ISAE-Busogo), Tubi­teho program which consisted of daycare for mentally and sensory disabled children and the Kigali Institute of Education (KIE).

At KIST, they organized a training workshops and postgraduate program on instrumentation for environ­mental and biochemical analysis. The program, which saw more than 40 employees trained, aimed at helping the department of chemistry to design and initiate a re­gional postgraduate training program in environmental and biochemical fields, training members of staff and students in applied chemistry department on the use, operation and maintenance of equipments; and ensur­ing reproducibility following internationally accepted protocols as well as good laboratory practices.

In Gihundwe Hospital in Rusizi, the experts strength­ened the hospital’s management system. “This aimed at improving the capacity of resource management (hu­man, material and financial resources) and improving the patient management capacity (patient identifica­tion, tracking and invoicing),” Kandekwe explained. At Ndera too, patient files were digitized.

While addressing the Rwandan Diaspora Convention in the USA in September 2006, President Paul Kagame remarked that “the Rwandan Diaspora is clearly a re­source that can make valuable contributions to our quest for a better future for our country. What needs to be done urgently is to devise means of utilizing this re­source.”

Parfait Gahamanyi, the director general of the Rwandan Community Abroad at the ministry of foreign affairs and coop­eration, reiterated that the Diaspora plays a vital role in their motherland’s de­velopment. “The Diaspora includes a big number of experts in various fields whose skills are needed by different staff and services here,” Gahamanyi said.

And they come cheap, because the MiDA ex­perts are doing the work for free. “In collaboration with MiDA, which is it­self sponsored by the Bel­gian government, we used to give the experts only airline tickets and accom­modation,” Gahamanyi stressed. “There are no salaries, but they came in a big number, and many more are still willing to do so.”

Source: Rwanda Focus

April 30, 2013   No Comments

Elderly Rwandan Genocide survivors: a complex problem

Asteria Nyirabashi (L) and Rosaria Mukamusoni are both elder survivors who lost all their family relatives and now have to fend for themselves

Asteria Nyirabashi (L) and Rosaria Mukamusoni are both elder survivors who lost all their family relatives and now have to fend for themselves

Rosaria Mukamusoni, 81, lost her entire family during the Genocide, and for her, it is not history, but a lasting wound. She now stays alone in Gasharu cell in Gasabo where she has to cope on her own. “I used to struggle and feed myself, but I’m no longer able to do anything,” she points out. “When I am lucky, I get something from a do­nor.”

After the 1994 Genocide, the gov­ernment established the assistance fund for genocide survivors (FARG) to provide all needy survivors with basic necessities. This includes a project program where they are as­sisted to run income-generating ac­tivities, but Mukamusoni can’t really do any activity. “They recently intro­duced a mushroom project, but I’m no longer strong. Only young people can do that,” she says.

What remains for the elder wid­ow is to stay inside the house she got from FARG some years back, yet there she falls prey to strong emo­tions such as bereavement, loneli­ness, restlessness, insomnia, and generally, poor mental, emotional, and physical well-being as there is no one around to help.

The sad life that Mukamusoni ex­periences is common among many older genocide widows who lost all of their relatives during the geno­cide, and who live in solitude for the rest of their lives.

Chantal Kabasinga, the president of the Genocide survivors associa­tion Avega Agahozo, decries it as “a new, very complex issue” and said that they identified 1462 people over 70 whose family members were all massacred, and who have no one to take care of them.

Southern Province tops the list with 547; Western Province follows with 304 while Eastern Province has 390. Northern Province and Kigali city have 114 and 107 respectively.

“Most of them don’t only need food, but also are unable to wash themselves or their clothes. It’s a very complex issue rising rapidly,” Kabasinga points out, adding that Avega has so far identified 248 wom­en who are in the worst situation to start taking care of during the 100 days of mourning.

Direct support

Odette Kayirere, the executive sec­retary of Avega, observes that last year they gathered information about such elderly widows and they now have a book in which they keep pic­tures and the state of each of them. Among them, 804 have been identi­fied in the worst situation. And the numbers keep increasing as years go by.

Kayirere explains that they are in consultation with all concerned en­tities to see how they can help such women. In the meantime, the asso­ciation will carry out comprehen­sive research to understand the issue and identify solutions. “We need re­search-based facts, rather than emo­tions,” Kayirere points out.

The results are expected by the end of May.

Jean de Dieu Udahemuka, FARG’s communications officer, for his part says that they provide the elderly with direct support. The basic unit is Frw 7,500 per individual, but Udahe­muka says this can be increased de­pending on the specific situation of a person.

The official says that they work hand in hand with Avega which has representatives up to cell level to know those who are in need. He also mentioned that they work with grassroots entities to facilitate access to their support. Nonetheless, it can be useless for an elder aged over 70 since she can’t do anything unless there is someone to help.

“We recognize that it’s a very com­plex issue. It’s an issue that has to be owned and examined by a wide range of institutions to see what can be done or how the community can be involved,” Udahemuka explains.

Nursing homes

Suggestions among officials are varied. One is to find nursing homes where they can be gathered and tak­en care of, but here again, Rwanda’s philosophy has been to build a fam­ily-based community.

On the other hand, it has been suggested to find a sustainable way for local communities to take care of these elders. However, even that might have adverse effects. “When I got a house from FARG, I could hear some of my neighbors murmuring that ‘they gave her a house while there are healthy people around,’” says Asteria Nyirabashi, 81, staying in Kinyinya in Gasabo.

In addition, there have been re­ports of threats against genocide survivors, or actual violence such as the killing of their cows and even murder. This obviously creates fear among them.

The elder widows met in Kinyin­ya tell this paper that it’s even rare that one of their neighbors comes to pay them a visit. “Rwandans used to love each other, but I can see that things have changed,” Mukamuso­ni sighs. “No one can spend his time taking care of you, everyone looks after himself.”

Source: Rwanda Focus

April 30, 2013   No Comments

South Sudan President Lauds Rwanda Police

Rwanda and South Sudan media addressing the media

Rwanda and South Sudan media addressing the media

The president of South Sudan Salva Kiir has lauded the Rwanda Police force for their support in capacity building of the Sudanese police services.

President Kiir made the remarks last week at State House in capital Juba, while meeting Rwanda’s Inspector General of Police, Emmanuel Gasana.

Gasana was in South Sudan on a working visit to strengthen ties between the two forces following the signing of the cooperation agreement in May last year.

Kiir pledged full support to the partnership for the good of communities in the two sister countries.

The signed agreement binds the two forces in combating cross-border crimes and capacity building.

The agreement focuses mainly on road safety, basic and advanced investigation, basic intelligence, IT and communication skills, public order management, junior supervisory course and training of trainers.

Lt. Gen Salva Mathok, South Sudan Deputy Minister of Interior, also stressed that the cooperation is paramount in professionalizing their force, which is mainly composed of former soldiers and militia groups.

South Sudan Police chief, Gen. Pieng Deng Kuol, said the cooperation between the two police forces has done much in building the capacity of their force.

According to Rwanda Police, more than 20 police officers from the South Sudan have so far have attended various police courses in Rwanda.

Rwanda Police has also selected a team of 18 police officers to be stationed in South Sudan for one year to train their police force in investigation, intelligence, traffic management and Information Technology (IT) among others.

He said Rwanda’s success story in areas of reconciliation, poverty eradication and peacekeeping is a good lesson that other countries and forces should learn from.

IGP Gasana, who observed that the two countries have had bad history, applauded the level of development in South Sudan and pledged the RNP support and exchange of best practices to build a professional force.

Source: News of Rwanda

April 30, 2013   No Comments