By Donah Mbabazi
Stakeholders have agreed to extend the Community Based Environmental Health Promotion Programme (CBEHPP) to all districts and further improve on ways of implementing its strategies on hygiene and general health. This was resolved during a meeting that brought together partners in the implementation of the programme with an aim of identifying obstacles they have been facing since it was rolled out.
The ‘green’ drive, which is supported by government and international organisations, was launched in 2009 to help Rwandans improve hygiene and reduce debilitating national disease burden, subsequently contributing to poverty reduction. Alphonsine Mukamunana, the Environment Health Officer at the Ministry of Health, said the hindrances still limiting the proper implementation of the programme need to be identified and and solutions devised.
Data from the ministry shows that the desired outcomes of the programme success is still at half-way mark, which Mukamunana said is unacceptable.”The programme now covers 20 districts, which is good, but what matters is how effective it is; its success is now at 40 per cent and now we are looking at how we can increase that percentage,” she said. “We also want to cover all the districts so that we empower more people to identify their personal and domestic hygiene, nutrition and environmental related problems.” According to Mukamunana, so far, 33 per cent of the villages have been trained to conduct health promotion sessions through community health clubs.
Kris Cox, the Country Director of Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), a US-based NGO, said they are honoured to be part of the programme, adding that they would work with the Ministry of Health to scale it up. She said: “We are collecting data on household assets, housing, and education plus testing the water quality, this way we will be able to determine how the programme is affecting households.”