Rwanda Healthcare Federation (RHF) is a member of the East African Healthcare Federation (EAHF). COVID-19 has affected all countries in the World and the East African Countries as well. Governments have implemented strategies to tackle the pandemic and included the private health sector in the fight against COVID-19.
African Economic Research Consortium (AERC) has supported the Country Federation in implementing activities to support governments in fighting against COVID-19. Rwanda has benefited with the Grant among other East African Countries via Rwanda Healthcare Federation (RHF).
- To identify the existing COVID-19 preparedness and response mechanisms in private health care facilities in EAC member countries.
- To describe similarities and differences in the COVID-19 response in EAC member countries.
- To raise awareness for the collective prevention of the spread of COVID-19 in the country (Rwanda).
- To train Members of RHF on topics related to COVID-19 and increase their skills in providing support in the pandemic.
The RHF has carried out the following activities:
1. Coordinated response to COVID-19 in Private Health Facilities in the East African Countries.
Rwanda Healthcare Federation (RHF) has utilized the grant from the AERC to establish a coordinated response activity in the region. The activity was carried about by conducting an assessment for the preparedness and response to COVID-10 in private Health Facilities that responded to the call of the researchers which are:
- RWANDA: 8 Facilities
- UGANDA: 2 Facilities
- KENYA: 1 Facility
- SOUTH SUDAN: 1 Facility
The detailed report for this activity is attached to the report.
2. Training of Rwanda Healthcare Federation members and other healthcare providers.
Rwanda healthcare Federation has been able to organize training sessions about COVID-19 and 663 healthcare professionals within this program have benefited from the trainings packages. The trainings covered the following topics:
- Introduction and background on COVID-19: Course delivered by Dr. Sugira Leonce (Task Force of COVID-19 in Rwanda)
- Management of COVID-19 by Dr. Anitha Nyirahabineza (COVID-19 Management)
- Contact Tracing for COVID-19: Dr. Mugabe Christian: Worked for the Command Post for COVID-19.
- The role of medical imaging in the diagnosis of COVID-19 by Dr. Emmanuel Rudakemwa: Radiologist and Member of Rwanda Healthcare Federation.
- COVID-19 vaccines Course by Dr. Daisy Umutoni (PhD)
3. Communication Activities – Raising awareness for a collective prevention of the spread of COVID-19.
The project has enable Rwanda Healthcare Federation in conducting activities.
The educative videos were pre-recorded at Rwanda Healthcare Federation and the Participants were the following:
SHOW 1: Background of COVID-19 and its link to Mental Health disorders – This show has been delivered by Dr. Sugira Leonce who works in the Command Post of COVID-19 at Rwanda Biomedical Center (RBC).
SHOW 2: The role of Private Health Facilities in the Prevention and Management of COVID-19 – This was delivered by Dr. Laurent – Pierre Lussungu. It covered the testing of COVID-19, The management that included even advanced management with Hospitalization for COVID-19 in private Hospitals in Rwanda.
SHOW 3: COVID-19 and Non-Communicable Diseases – This show has been delivered by Dr. Evarist NTAGANDA who is in the Charge of Diabetes in the Division of Non- Communicable Diseases (NCDs) of Rwanda Biomedical Center. The linkage between Non Communicable diseases and COVID-19 had to be explored as far as Rwanda is managing COVID-19.
SHOW 4: COVID-19 VACCINES – This Topic of Vaccines was an interesting one because this was delivered in the real time when the East African countries where trying to avail vaccines for their populations. Dr. Daisy Umutoni (PhD) who specialized in molecular sciences has elaborated the types of vaccines available and their effectiveness to the audience. This show was delivered both in Kinyarwanda and in English. The modulator for the above shows was Miss Nadine Marie Fidele Umuhoza, an Experiences Journalists for such interactive shows. Jean Damascene Bigirimana has facilitated the English version of the show on Vaccines.
INTERACTIVE AUDIO SHOWS
Rwanda Healthcare Federation (RHF) has worked on delivering dissemination of interactive radio shows to the public in Rwanda and has delivered shows that have been done on a video format and availed radio format shows that were disseminated via a local radio in Rwanda.
Rwanda Healthcare Federation has worked on the approaching the audience using social media Platforms. The RHF team has allowed Nyereka Tech Ltd, an Experienced Company in information sharing and was tasked to provided infographics, generating contents, designing posters to be shared on all social media platforms and later on have been shared with the East African Healthcare Federation to be displayed on social medial platforms and website as well.
View the Infographic Materials here.
Rwanda Healthcare Federation has done a press conference where by the RHF Presented all the activities under taken with the AERC via this project and provided some information to stick on the fight against COVID-19 in our region to the public. Due to the fact of reaching a bigger audience here in Rwanda, the press conference was done in Kinyarwanda.
METHODOLOGY / PROCESS
For the coordinated response, the team has mixed different methods to be able to reach the objectives. For Private Health Facilities in Rwanda, we decided to go and meet them in person to be able to generate information but also explain the rationale of the project and the desired outcome. Some Private Health Facilities have responded to the call but some others did not and preferred online version of the exercise. The team has carried a number of interviews and supported the participants in the activity to fill in the survey using online meetings.
The team have analyzed data and provided the feedback to the East African Healthcare Federation and the AERC. Burundi and Tanzania were not able to participate but more discussions were done between Rwanda Healthcare Federation both Country Federations (Burundi Healthcare Federation and the Tanzanian Private Healthcare Federation to assist on providing members who can participate in the exercises. Unfortunately, on no clear reasons they did not participate in the exercise. Reasons for not participating were not communicated.
The project outcomes were the following:
- Rwanda Healthcare Federation has elaborated and provided a Reporting Tool that can be used by Private Health Facilities in the region to assess their status in terms of preparedness and response to COVID-19 internally. The same tool can help the East African Healthcare Federation to coordinate the response on COVID-19 and other pandemics just in case.
- RHF has delivered skills to 663 Healthcare providers in Rwanda on topics related to COVID-19 throughout the project.
- RHF has been able to provide information to the public on how to prevent and stop the spread of COVID-19 using local Television and Radio.
- RHF provided information of the prevention and the management of COVID-19 to the people using Social medial platforms.
- RHF, using a press conference has been able to share information on continuing prevention of COVID-19 and the role of RHF, AERC and EAHF in supporting the governmental of Rwanda and other governments in the region on matters related to COVID-19 Prevention.
The project has generated the above outputs but the Project would have been more productive if the budget would have been increased. With a limited budget, the coordinated response that provided a reporting tool would have been extended to more Facilities and even to short time employment of some focal points in each of the EAC countries to follow up with Private facilities responding – It would have been very interactive than it was if there were many participants. We have not got any data from Tanzania and Burundi, probably we would have got some if we would have someone locally to follow up the respondents.
If the budget could be increased, the exercise of filling the reporting tool and reflecting on it in planning and management can be a good pathway in establishing a stable situation for preparedness and response to COVID-19 in Private Health Facilities in the region.
The interventions carried out were in face to face models on the coordinated response but to be able to achieve the outputs, the team switched to online interviews to be able to cover some East African counties due to COVID-19 and limited funding.
Rwanda Healthcare Federation (RHF) Team has learnt a lot in the implementation of this project:
- Throughout the process RHF has learnt a lot in terms approaching its members, other than the discussion on the preparedness and response, some brief discussions were made which helped RHF to learn problem some of the members were facing.
- The partnership with other countries’ Federation have generated a lot in terms of facilitating the RHF to attain its objectives.
- RHF Executive Committee learnt that even with minimum resources, there are activities than can be implemented and generate a lot of benefits towards the society and the region in general.
In implementing the project activities in partnership with the AERC and the EAHF, Rwanda Healthcare Federation Team met the following challenges:
- COVID-19 Pandemic lock-down in Rwanda delayed the operations regarding the project. Kigali, the Capital of Rwanda was in lockdown for quick some time and this prevented the Team to move to other Provinces.
- Country Federation in the region have supported but the response rate outside Rwanda was weak. We thought that maybe we needed someone to follow up the activities in other countries and due to lack of budget this could not be organized.
- The price rates of local and region Broadcasting agencies are too high and with the limited budget, the RHF has not been able to purchase space on more TV and Radio stations for more coverage of our shows.
- The members / Private Health Facilities locally and regionally were not responding fast to the communications we sent to them – There was a low rate in the responses via E-mails. The team decided to use calls and live online meetings.
Policies and plans for countries based on evidence. The reporting Tool for preparedness and Response for COVID-19 will be or great support to generate information for the facilities themselves and this can inform the Ministry of Health is coordinated by Country Federations.
There is a high possibility to have new approaches on supplying the private health sector with preventive products that can support them in responding to COVID-19 Pandemic or any other diseases. The tool generates more information that can stimulate internal control and improvement within private health organizations in the region.
Rwanda Healthcare Federation recommends the assessment to continue by private health facilities and reflect on data to change and improve their status.
Sharing information online for epidemiological purposes and availing information to the public can continue.
Training to Healthcare providers can continue as well and this can support the governments in availing a capable and reinforced workforce for the health sector.
The coordinated response on the preparedness and response for COVID-19 via a reporting tool is and interesting tool that can be used to collected data over time in private health facilities and data from that can be analyses and inform the Ministry of Health of East African Community Countries.
Coordinated Response – Reporting Tool for preparedness and response to COVID-19.
Download the full report here.
Download the COVID-19 Coordinated Response Report.