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July 2, 2024

National Medical Coordination Meeting

The Catholic Church Health Services National Coordination Meeting was held in Karongi from June 19 to 21, 2024. The primary goal of this meeting was to assess the progress of the Caritas Rwanda Strategic Plan 2020-2024 / Health and develop new health strategies to be included in the upcoming strategic plan for2025-2030.

During the meeting, participants also reviewed the recommendations from the 2023 Caritas Rwanda General Assembly for the Health Department. They discussed the advancements made in various Community-based Health Projects such as Gikuriro Kuri Bose, RBF Malaria, RBF Enabel, ECD, Hepatitis B Birth Dose, and Faith Initiative. Additionally, there were brainstorming sessions on enhancing collaboration between the Episcopal Commission for Pastoral Health and the Catholic Church Health Services.

In his opening speech, His Excellency Bishop Anaclet Mwumvaneza, the Bishop of Nyundo Diocese and President of Caritas Rwanda, highlighted the Catholic Church’s commitment to improving the health of Rwandan citizens through its 10 hospitals and 110 health centers. He emphasized the cooperation agreement between the Catholic Church and the Ministry of Health, stating that the Church’s mission in health care is rooted in promoting human health without discrimination.

His Excellency Bishop Anaclet Mwumvaneza, Bishop of Nyundo Diocese and President of Caritas Rwanda, inaugurated the meeting.

Donatien Bajyanama, who represented the Ministry of Health, in his speech, said that this meeting was organized on time because in June 2024, the Government of Rwanda will close the Fourth Health Sector Strategic Plan (HSSB4) and the National Strategy for Transformation in its first phase (NST1), and then start the new ones, where unrealized activities will be prioritized.

Mr. Bajyanama also announced to the participants that a bonus would be given to health professionals working in the most remote areas as a way to motivate them. He stated, “The specific amount of these bonuses will soon be disclosed to the remote health centers.” In response to inquiries about old buildings, he assured that efforts would be made to collaborate on their renovation. Additionally, he suggested that the Catholic Church should prioritize renovation projects for old buildings, especially if government funding becomes available.

In the discussion regarding the collaboration between the Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral of Healthcare and Catholic Church health services, Father Senani Callixte, the commission secretary, emphasized the importance of providing spiritual and moral support to patients, their families, and medical staff. It was agreed that all hospitals and health centers affiliated with the Catholic Church should have chapels. For those facilities that do not currently have chapels, it was recommended that a designated room be made available for individuals to pray and seek solace. This initiative aims to ensure that individuals in hospitals and health centers have access to spiritual guidance and support during times of need.

On the question of the health commission members in Catholic Church hospitals, it was agreed that the composition should be evenly split between members from the Church and those from outside. However, the current ratio is 40% from the Church and 60% from outside, which does not align with the agreed-upon 50/50 split.

Mr. Donatien Bajyanama suggested that the representative of the hospital owner should no longer be part of the hospital management committee to prevent interference in the higher committee. However, participants requested that this position be reinstated, with the specification that it would be filled by the chaplain.

Mr. Donatien Bajyanama, who represented the Ministry of Health in this meeting.

In terms of family educators, it was decided that individuals at the parish level will be selected based on their interest in the role and will receive training accordingly.

Furthermore, the meeting reviewed the recommendations from the 2023 General Assembly of Caritas Rwanda and noted that they are being implemented as necessary.

The representatives of the Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB) made a presentation on the updates on the current status of receivables and payment terms for Mutuelle de santé invoices by RSSB. The participants showed their interest in this information by asking many questions, which made them understand that payments are delayed because the documents do not meet the required conditions.

The participants during the meeting.

During this conference, there were also presentations on the achievements of different community health projects (Gikuriro Kuri Bose, RBF Malaria, RBF Enabel, ECD, Hepatitis B Birth Dose and Faith Initiative), as well as a short training on data protection.

After reviewing the implementation of the Caritas Rwanda 2020-2024 strategic plan/health, which has been well implemented, the participants reflected on the points that will be the basis of a new Caritas Rwanda 2025-2030 strategic plan.