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ACCESS NEWS December 2010 Volume 1, Number 4

I noticed that the library space was tiny, everything was in French and the most recent materials dated back to the 1980s or 1990s,” said Kamonyi PCV Edison Reyes. “There was an obvious need to bring English-language books, and books in general, to the over 900 kids at the school.” After PCVs from across Rwanda met for a training in July 2009 and voiced similar concerns over the country’s book famine, Access Project PCV Jessica McGhie decided to develop the Rwanda Books for Peace Project. Why name the effort Books for Peace? “The benefits of literacy extend to health and mutual understanding between age, ethnic and socioeconomic groups. We wanted to give our community members the opportunity and physical space to foster these values”, PCVs Jessica McGhie and Amy Studenic

McGhie said. Many studies have drawn conclusive links

Rwanda Books for Peace Project Takes Important Step towards Ending Rwanda’s Book Famine by Access Project staff

between literacy and healthier communities. According to a 2002 World Bank report, when children, especially young women, are provided with education they have greater economic options and autonomy. Although the Access Project is focused on improving

In April 2009, Rwanda welcomed its

management systems in Rwanda’s health centers,

Volunteer is leading an effort that has first group of Peace Corps Volunteers

Country Director Dr. Blaise Karibushi leaped at the

so far brought more than 20,000 books (PCVs) since the 1994 genocide. Once

chance to support the overall well-being of Access-

to schools, clinics and community

they moved into their assigned com-

supported communities by applying Access Project funds

centers in rural Rwanda.

munities, the volunteers noticed that

to pay for those communities’ required investments.

most school libraries had fewer books

The Access Project consulted with community, district

than a typical American home. Where

and health center leaders before ordering academic and

they existed, the library spaces in

leisure reading books for primary, secondary and post-

schools and communities were

secondary students and professionals—a mix that

disorganized and mostly stocked

encourages people to visit the libraries ... to page 3

An Access Project Peace Corps

In August, the Rwanda Books for Peace Project distributed books ranging from novels to medical books to 13 communities in rural Rwanda, supplementing existing library spaces and creating new ones. The books,

outdated or irrelevant materials.

donated by the U.S.-based non-profit

Even where libraries did exist, students

Books for Africa, will provide students,

did not know how to use them for basic

teachers and all community members research or studying, and many library with an opportunity to hone their

supervisors were too nervous about

reading and research skills, improve

losing books to allow anyone besides

their English, and promote a culture of authorized teachers to enter the reading in Rwanda.

rooms. “When I began working with the secondary school in my village,

INSIDE

Rwanda Books for Peace Project Takes Important Step towards Ending Rwanda’s Book Famine.....1 NTD Control Program achievements lauded.................... ...2

Making Running Water a Reality in Rural Health Centers ......3 Rwanda Prime Minister visited new Ngeruka Health Center...4

www.theaccessproject.com | Kiyovu, Rue du lac Mpanga, No 2106. PO BOX: 7393 Kigali-Rwanda

Young children enjoying reading books.


NTD Control Program Achievements Lauded by Malick Kayumba Rates were highest in the Northern and Western Provinces, and prevalence surpassed 70% in 15 of Rwanda’s 30 districts. Schistosomiasis was found in 3% of Rwandan school children overall but was found to affect up to 70% of school children living in close proximity to lakes or swamps.

Opening remarks by Dr. Agnes Binagwaho

The Ministry of Health, in partnership with the Access Project, organized the Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) 2010 annual workshop, which was held at Laico Umubano Hotel on July 20, 2010. The objective of the meeting was to share the achievements accomplished by the NTD Control Program since its inception three years ago and to discuss the integration of the NTD Control Program strategies into existing initiatives.

In the past three years, 3,691 teachers, 10,977 community health workers, 719 health workers and 28 journalists have received training on NTD transmission, prevention and treatment. Additionally, 301 lab technicians from 30 districts were trained on how to diagnose STH and schistosomiasis infections and 16 ophthalmologic clinical officers were trained on how to screen for trachoma using the Trachoma Rapid Assessment.

sensitization efforts to promote NTD prevention, namely an array of information education and communication (IEC) materials, including comic books, drug distribution guides, flip books, posters, booklets, songs and video cartoons. Recommendations given by the stakeholders present at the day-long workshop focused on the sustainability of the NTD Control Program. It was determined that together with its partners, the program will develop a comprehensive strategic plan for the years 2011-2015. The program will focus on preventative rather than curative actions such as sensitizing the population and promoting low cost technologies that improve sanitation and access to clean water.

The permanent secretary of the Ministry of Health, Dr. Agnes Binagwaho, launched the workshop by applauding the program’s impressive achievements over the past three years. “We are happy with all the achievements in the fight against intestinal worms and bilharzias in Rwanda, but together with our stakeholders invited to this workshop, we are expecting to come up with strong program implementation strategies and discuss the feasibility of successfully integrating the program into existing initiatives,” she said. The NTD Control Program’s first activity was conducting a national assessment on the five most important NTDs in Rwanda, namely soil transmitted helminths (STHs), schistosomiasis, lymphatic filariasis and onchocerchiasis. The overall prevalence of STHs was found to be 66% among school children.

Participants during the annual NTD Control Program workshop at Laico Umubano Hotel

Seven medical doctors from schistosomiasis endemic districts were also trained on how to perform an ultrasound diagnosis of schistosomiasis mansoni. Children aged from 1 to 16 years were de-wormed twice a year with mebendazole or albendazole. In addition, children aged 5 to 16 years in schistosomiasis endemic districts were de-wormed once a year with praziquantel.

The workshop brought together officials from the Ministry of Health, WHO, UNICEF, USAID, CTB, ICAP, Rwanda Development Board (RDB), CDC/ Rwanda, the School of Public Health from the National University of Rwanda, RARDA, the Rwanda Health Communication Center, the Rwanda Office of Information (ORINFOR), District Hospital representatives and the Access Project.❏

The NTD Control Program has also initiated a series of social mobilization and

www.theaccessproject.com | Kiyovu, Rue du lac Mpanga, No 2106. PO BOX: 7393 Kigali-Rwanda


SUCCESS STORIES Making Running Water a Reality in Rural Health Centers by Access Project staff “I am busy every minute of the day in consultations with new patients, meeting with past patients, and performing administrative tasks,” said Juvenal. “I am a professional, so I know the importance of hand washing between patients, but how can I do it when there is no sink and no bucket to wash my hands with and I have to go outside to fetch water? It’s not possible.” Jacqueline Nyirabyimana enjoying the new sink in the center’s delivery room

The room was bare — a green-sheeted examination table pushed up against the far wall and a large desk, cluttered with papers, bisecting the room’s length. More striking than the room’s lack of adornment, however, was the absence of a sink or even a bucket in which health center staff and patients could wash their hands. Before the Access Project and Rwanda Peace Corps Volunteers helped the center install running water in May 2010, Juvenal Niyomugaba, the Vice Director at Ruhunda Health Center, saw as many as 60 patients a day but was unable to wash his hands between all consultations. Each day, Juvenal consults with patients, treating them for a wide assortment of illnesses and conditions. As patients enter the room, he greets them and then proceeds to investigate their aches and pains or dress their wounds. Despite the otherwise professional nature of the visit, the health center’s lack of running water made it difficult for Juvenal to wash his hands and maintain a hygienic space for his patients.

Running water is an easy remedy to the many pathogens and parasites that cause many of Rwanda’s health problems, and ready and reliable access to water is critical in determining the quality of care offered in Rwandan health centers. Not only does water enable equipment sterilization and hygienic care, but its presence in health centers also allows health professionals to role model good hygiene and hand washing. Unfortunately, many health centers must operate without this basic service. According to the 2008-2009 Ministry of Health Annual Statistical Booklet, only 59% of health centers nationwide are connected to either the local or national water grid. In March and April of 2010, the Ruhunda and Musha Health Centers took a critical step in improving the care they provide. With assistance from the Access Project and its Peace Corps Volunteers, funding from Water Charity, a non-profit organization that provides small water grants to Peace Corps Volunteers, and the initiative and leadership of the health center directors, to running water at both health centers, sinks were finally installed and connected.

The projects were organized and executed by Peace Corps Volunteers Colleen Laurence and Kara Rogers in coordination with the Access-employed Rwamagana District Health Advisor, Charles Ngirabatware. The U.S. Peace Corps has been collaborating with the Access Project since April 2009. There are currently four Health and Community Development Peace Corps Volunteers working with the Access Project in all of its supported districts. At Ruhunda, the project outfitted both the general and pediatric consultation rooms as well as the delivery room with sinks. Similarly at Musha, the consultation, pharmacy, surgery, and pediatric rooms received sinks and were connected to the local water source. A combined population of 37,599 within the health centers’ catchment areas now receives a higher standard of care when they visit the local health centers. Several other projects to install internal running water in health centers have been organized and completed by Peace Corps Volunteers in conjunction with Water Charity’s Appropriate Projects initiative and the Access Project. The U.S. Peace Corps Volunteers Jessica McGhie, Amy Studenic and Jenny Boyd have facilitated projects in seven health centers in Musanze and Rwamagana Districts to date, and more projects are underway. ❏

Rwanda Books for Peace...from page 1 When the approximately 20,000 books arrived on August 30, 2010, Dr. Karibushi said, “I was absolutely impressed by the quality and variety of the books. This valuable donation will be the tipping point for promoting a culture of reading amongst Rwandan youth.” What about the secondary school library, which PCV Reyes once described as being all

but useless to the students? “We now have plenty of books,” Reyes said, “In fact, there are now more than enough books for each student to use in class and also check out of the library to study with and enjoy at home.” ❏

www.theaccessproject.com | Kiyovu, Rue du lac Mpanga, No 2106. PO BOX: 7393 Kigali-Rwanda


OTHER NEWS Rwanda Prime Minister Visits New Ngeruka Health Center

Upcoming: MDA CAMPAIGN 29 Nov. - 2 Dec., 2010

Children being dewormed at school

Access Project’s District Health Advisor for Bugesera, Dr. Jean Marie Rukanikigitero welcomes the Prime Minister Bernard Makuza

Rwanda Prime Minister Bernard Makuza recently toured Ngeruka Health Center, located in Bugesera District in the Eastern Province, as part of a twoday visit conducted to assess the development made in the area.

The Prime Minister was accompanied by many other high-level authorities, including five ministers, the Governor of the Eastern Province, the mayor, and regional representatives of the military and police.

The new health center was constructed by the Access Project and first opened its doors at the end of February 2010. It offers various services, including family planning, immunization and pre-natal consultation, and can accommodate 400 patients.

Prime Minister Makuza commented on the progress made by Bugesera District when he remarked, “Rwanda has come a long way; we have reached a level of devising solutions to our own problems and we need to keep this pace of development to achieve more.” ❏

The Rwandan Ministry of Health, in collaboration with the Access Project, WHO, UNICEF, and other partners, will organize the fourth national Mass Drug Administration (MDA) campaign during Mother and Child Health Week. The campaign will take place from 29 November to 2 December 2010. An estimated 4.5 million people are expected to receive de-worming tablets against intestinal worms. During the campaign, people living in six endemic districts (Nyamasheke, Rutsiro, Gakenke, Gicumbi, Nyagatare, and Ngoma) will also receive praziquantel tablets against schistosomiasis. ❏

Credit and Contact Information Written by: Access Project staff and partners Photos: Jessica McGhie and Malick Kayumba Graphic Design: Malick Kayumba Contact: mstricker@ei.columbia.edu (U.S.A) raissak@theaccessproject.com (Rwanda) All rights reserved © 2010 www.theaccessproject.com | Kiyovu, Rue du lac Mpanga, No 2106. PO BOX: 7393 Kigali-Rwanda

December 2010  

In April 2009, Rwanda welcomed its first group of Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) since the 1994 genocide. Once they moved into their assigned...

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