By Jean d’Amour Mugabo
Rwanda’s diabetes healthcare has got a boost of glucose meters and test strips to advance disease management for people diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in Rwanda for the next four years.
The donation of glucose meters and around 11.7 million test strips was announced yesterday during a press briefing in Kigali, as a result of a partnership between Rwanda’s Ministry of Health and Abbott through Team Type 1 Foundation.
Glucose meters and test strips are important tools to help people manage their diabetes, however, some living with Type 1 diabetes are unable to afford meters or test strips. The FreeStyle Optium Neo glucose meters and 11,680,000 FreeStyle Optium test strips from Abbott will provide access to ongoing diabetes care in Rwanda. The donation is in partnership with Team Type 1 Foundation, a non-profit organisation pursuing a global mission of education, empowerment and equal access to medicine for everyone affected by diabetes.
Receiving the donation, Dr. Patrick Ndimubanzi, Rwanda’s Minister of State in Charge of Primary Healthcare , said the Government of Rwanda has responded to the global call to tackle the increased burden of diabetes by ensuring improved access and quality of care is delivered at all levels of the health system including primary health facilities close to the population.
“The fight against diabetes and other NCDs is a high priority on the agenda of the Ministry of Health and will continue to work with all our partners to mitigate the impact of this deadly disease,” added the Minister.
Bernard Brisolier, Business Unit Director for Abbott’s diabetes care business in Africa, said “By working together with the Ministry of Health and Team Type 1 Foundation, we will empower thousands of people living with diabetes in Rwanda to monitor their glucose levels and manage their diabetes, which will help them lead healthier and fuller lives.”
“It is a dream come true to receive this donation from Abbott. Since 2010, the Team Type 1 Foundation has been present in Rwanda through the Tour of Rwanda and our work with the Rwanda Diabetes Association. We have seen the will of the people to succeed against the challenges diabetes presents, which is why Team Type 1 has been so dedicated for the past 10 years to advance access to diabetes care in Rwanda,” Team Type 1 Founder and President Phil Southerland said.
Abbott is an active healthcare provider in Africa in general and in Rwanda in particular. Since the beginning of 2019, the company has collaborated with the Ministry of Health and a leading NGO, on a pilot program including the launch of eight second-generation health posts in the Eastern Rwanda’s Bugesera District. The initiative aims at providing primary healthcare services within a 30-minute walk of all Rwandan homes. Health post workers will test and treat people, including pregnant women and new-born children for multiple infectious and non-communicable diseases.
According to the STEPS Survey 2014, Diabetes prevalence in Rwanda is 3 per cent and 2,000 among the patients have type 1 diabetes.
According to the Health Ministry, Rwanda aims to protect her population from morbidity and mortality related to NCDs including Diabetes. This can be achieved through cooperation with different stakeholders at national and international levels.
Rwanda has put in place different measures to fight diabetes. These include community check-up and sensitization for early detection, decentralization and integration of diabetes care to health centre level, health system strengthening through capacity building and development of normative tools, increase of accessibility and affordability of diabetes commodities, medicine and lab tests, inclusion of diabetes care into medical insurance scheme, among others.