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Imihini mishya itera amabavu” is a saying which informs and affirms individuals undergoing new experiences. It promises that whatever their challenges may be, they are just a step in an induction process, preceding new escalations. Such is a close description of my primary experience when I first sat in a weekly team that reviewed collected information on Maternal and Neonatal Health (MNH). The official language for the eight weeks was something along the lines of: “ She was G5P4 EMO EV4 ; PGAR; result of FBC/NFS was; CRP not done; and the problem was on 1st and 2nd delays…” With my business related background, I now celebrate the opportunity that made me understand and appreciate more about life since it all starts at conception!

The Access Project has provided crucial support for improving day-to-day health management in Rwanda, ensuring that community health insurance, data management, finances, human resources, and information technology are all properly managed and that health facilities are well organized. The project covers six out of the thirty national districts, of which my placement office cover a third of them, namely Musanze and Nyabihu, which together encompass 27 health centers, found in the Northern and Western Province.

Generally, the project facilitates technical support to health centers’ management teams to improve specific and general performance, thus necessitating numerous training workshops, field works, networking and visiting communities. The project also partners in implementation of a very interesting application tool known as Rwanda RapidSMS, which was designed specifically to support maternal, neonatal and early child health at the community. It does so by supporting documentation of pregnancies in the community, increasing health facility contact through antenatal care (ANC), and increasing institutional delivery and by proxy, professional care at birth. Both ANC visits and institutional deliveries are accomplished through reminder features and the central data system, which offers the opportunity to know registered pregnancies and location, as well as their conditions throughout the pregnancy. Previously, this was something that could only be accessed if the investigator searched the files of the ANC records in a particular health facility where the client visits, but the records now can be accessed even from the capital city because of the internet database. This creates most of my special moments as it attracts my compassion and wins my passion as we visit communities, health centers or interact with those in influential positions.

Access Project also has a wing which promotes the health sector through actual construction of health centers, of which I am privileged to be facilitating in the renovation of a maternity ward at Bigogwe health center. We also participate in different organized in-service trainings, which train the staff to acquire or and bridge their skills gap, and are very beneficial. My co-fellow Tyler facilitates several, particularly those relating to RapidSMS, benefiting from his outstanding Public Health and MS Excel expertise.

Musanze & Nyabihu Team

Daily, I am part of a life changing team which works with and through the amazing Rwanda Health System, decentralized to the level of the village, where I contribute in small ways that are for sure yielding to my professional and personal development.