Beatrice Batamuliza

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the government of Rwanda through the Rwanda National Drug Authority signed a 75 million US Dollar project.

Unveiling the project, USAID official Jonathan Cummins said the fund is in appreciation of Rwanda’s good management of US funds donated.

“The government of Rwanda has been managing well all the funds availed, all the money is put to right use which gives us trust that the project will be a success. The infrastructure we are funding has been useful to other countries and we expect Rwandans to benefit from it especially in availing ARVS, anti-malaria drugs, mother and child healthcare,” the official noted.

Signing the project, Rwandan Minister of Health Dr. Damien Ngamije said the fund will help build the information and technology infrastructure that will help fast track the tendering, importation, stock management and distribution of drugs.

“The IT infrastructure will help know what exactly we need at a particular time when to give out drug tenders, what types of drugs needed,  how much is needed, what we have in stock and what’s lacking at a given time, the main challenge has been lack of timely information,” Dr. Ngamije noted  

According to the Director-General of Rwanda National Drug Authority, Dr. Harerimana Pie, the fund towards a five-year project will be used in capacity building, purchase, storage and distribution of drugs in the country.

Dr. Harerimana said the lack of information would delay tender up to eight months which is expected to reduce to three months

“The lack of information would sometimes cause losses as some drugs would expire yet some parts of the country lacked them. The availability of timely information will help us purchase what is needed on market at a particular time and avoid overstocking,” Harerimana noted

The project targets the building of an information system to manage drug importation, storage and distribution. The drugs first on the list include antiretroviral drugs (ARVs), anti Malaria drugs, contraceptives, and mother to child care drugs.

The fund will be availed in five portions in a period of five years according to the memorandum of understating signed.

 The USA is the biggest donor to Rwanda’s health sector and has stood by the Rwandan government in an effort to combat COVID-19 since its outbreak in the country in March 2020 with over 17million US Dollars (approx 17b Rwandan Francs) in both finance and material support availed.

On July 23 donation of mobile x-rays valued at 220 million Francs towards the diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases.

The x-rays were given to priority locations handling COVID-19 patients in critical condition like referral hospitals and COVID-19 treatment centres across the country.

The x-ray machines are part of the series of donations to COVID-19 intensive Care Units across Rwanda the first having arrived in May.

The x-ray machines are funded by the US department of defence through US-Africa Command (AFRICOM) and the United States overseas humanitarian, disaster assistance and civic aid (USOHDACA) program a special humanitarian assistance package that builds Rwanda’s effectiveness to prepare and respond to COVID-19