Covid-19 is a world pandemic and a challenge for all health systems in the world. When the first patient was identified in Rwanda, the government has acted decisively and managed to contain the spread of the virus.
The Belgian development agency, Enabel, has been working with the Government of Rwanda, through the Ministry of Health and the Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC), in fighting the pandemic. Enabel has provided financial, logistical and human resources support.
“By mobilising our health team, public health experts and biomedical engineers, drivers and vehicles … as well as financial resources we have been part of the national response from the onset.” Dirk Deprez, Resident Representative of Enabel in Rwanda.
More than a health problem
Corona virus is not only a health problem, but also a socio-economic challenge. Enabel has looked together with government partners how the ongoing programmes can contribute to mitigating the socio-economic impact of the virus.
The Enabel team and the team from the Rwanda Biomedical Centre and the Ministry of Health agreed on an amount of 1.5 million euros to finance the priorities identified in Rwanda’s response plan.
Through its health programme implemented by the “Barame” project (Barame means 'long life' in Kinyarwanda), Enabel also mobilised funds to partner with the seven districts of intervention (Gakenke, Gisagara, Karongi, Nyamasheke, Nyarugenge, Rulindo and Rusizi) through direct grants. These funds are intended to support efforts in the implementation of prevention measures at the district, health facility and community levels. This partnership resulted in establishing 70 handwashing stations near markets and bus stations to assure that these can operate safely.
Facing a nutritional challenge
The bilateral programme in the Agriculture sector, which focusses on pork, poultry and animal feed value chains, partnered with Rwanda Agriculture Board and supported the initiative to buy eggs from producers who lost their markets due to the crisis and distribute them in the framework of Rwanda’s Early Child Development Program (ECDP) to improve the meals of children in Rulindo, Bugesera and Gicumbi districts.
“Corona virus made the situation of poor families even harder. Enabel’s support came on time, as it helped improve the diet of vulnerable children as well as supported poultry farmers could no longer sell their products, especially eggs, to hotels and restaurants owing to the pandemic.
Also, handwashing stations, protective and screening equipment, as well as information campaigns helped us to enhance prevention measures amongst citizens of Rulindo and surrounding districts,” explains Emmanuel Kayiranga, Rulindo district Mayor.
Further contribution to the sector is currently being explored to see how Enabel could potentially support affected farmers through the Economic Recovery Fund that has recently been set up by the Government of Rwanda.