Belgium continues to support Rwandan energy, health sectors

electricity_grid17 February 20914, Kigali – Rwanda and Belgium have signed two agreements worth a total of €22 million in support of the electricity rollout program.

€17 million are dedicated to access to electricity in the districts of Kirehe, Gatsibo and Kayonza in Eastern province, and will supply electricity to an estimated 21,000 households in rural areas.

The remaining €5 million will be used for capacity building among EWSA staff, according to the Minister of State in charge of Energy and Water in Mininfra, Emma Francoise Isumbingabo.

Finance Minister Claver Gatete commended the grant from Belgium. “Energy is very critical,” he said, adding that electricity plays a great role in the development of the population and the country at large as it gives way to different economic and development activities.

For his part, Jean Pascal Labille, Belgian Minister for Development Cooperation, indicated that energy is one of the priorities of the Belgian cooperation. “Energy and public service is crucial to improve the conditions of the people,” he said, adding that he is satisfied with the ongoing bilateral cooperation between his country and Rwanda.

The two energy-related deals are part of the four year cooperation agreement that was signed by the two parties in 2011 for a total amount of €160 million for the three priority sectors namely health, energy, and decentralization.

Ndera hospital

On Saturday, Labile visited the neuropsychiatric hospital of Ndera, reiterating Belgium’s support to the health sector.

Ndera hospital offers medical services to more than 2000 patients monthly from within and outside the country. The 288-bed hospital was re-opened in August 1994 in the first place to take care of the numerous cases of trauma following the Genocide against the Tutsis.

As a direct consequence of the Genocide, mental health took an unprecedented magnitude and became a public health priority in the country.

Since its creation, Ndera hospital has received support through various Belgian mechanisms including non-government organizations, universities and the private sector. The good relations between the two countries have seen a Belgian pharmaceutical group, Union Chimique Belge, send free consignments of medicine to the hospital regularly.

Also part of the assistance is capacity building within the health sector, through a scholarship program under which three psychiatrists have already been trained for the national referral hospitals (Ndera and department of mental health at CHUK). 158 practitioners and 98 nurses have also been trained to manage common mental disorders at the district levels.

“More medical personnel are being trained as a way of overcoming this challenge and as of last year, a post graduate program was initiated at the national university of Rwanda to curb the problem,” stated Dr. Anita Asiimwe, State Minister in charge of public health and primary health care.


– Rwanda Focus

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