Mrs. Ruth Dusabimana, nurse and owner at Bunyoni Health Post, is one of OFH’s newest franchisees. She is 42 years old and a proud mother of five children. Before joining OFH, Mrs. Dusabimana worked for the Rutsiro health center. Her business, Bunyoni Health Post (HP), which opened in March 2020 with support from Ivuriro Iwacu, is located in Rutsiro district, in the western province of Rwanda.
In this story, Mrs. Dusabimana describes her experience of working with OFH, how the Bunyoni HP is impacting her community, and how opening her business during COVID-19 has redefined the early days of Bunyoni HP. Bunyoni HP is one of fifteen recently opened health posts that have scaled up OFH’s impact in Rwanda by increasing access to primary care in under-served rural areas.
“Thanks to OFH, we are now able to offer quality primary care right here in our community. People don’t have to walk long distances before reaching the nearest health facility as they used to in the past because our health post is in the vicinity of their homes,” says Mrs. Dusabimana. “With OFH’s support, we also provide a fast and reliable customer-focused experience to people in our community. For instance, our patients can find the medications they need at our health post, and this saves them time,” added Mrs. Dusabimana.
In line with global efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bunyoni HP and other OFH health posts across Rwanda are taking the necessary precautions to prevent the coronavirus transmission within their clinic spaces, such as emphasizing handwashing, moving handwashing stations to the entrance of the clinic, and using protective equipment such as gloves and masks. OFH health posts also play a key role in ensuring that their surrounding communities are well informed on the coronavirus and how to best limit its spread. “We collaborate with the local authorities to ensure that the Bunyoni community members are informed on the coronavirus safety guidelines,” says Mrs. Dusabimana.
OFH health posts in Rwanda remain open during the coronavirus global crisis and will continue to ensure that quality primary care is accessible in their communities. “Although the number of patients currently using our services is low because of COVID-19 stay-at-home measures,” says Mrs. Dusabimana, “we can still see up to 32 patients a day. We anticipate that the number of patients will considerably go up once regular social and economic activities resume in Rwanda, and people are able to get out of their homes more often.”
All OFH health posts accept national health insurance, which covers about 80% of the Rwandan population. As Mrs. Dusabimana points out, “accepting national health insurance allows community members to seek out services provided at OFH health posts without worrying about affordability.” More than 98% of OFH patients are covered by the national health insurance program.
OFH also ensures that all health posts are well-equipped, effectively managed, and in compliance with the national standards for health care facilities. In Mrs. Dusabimana’s words: “OFH provides the tools and equipment needed to run clinical operations smoothly at each health post, and the medications restocking system is very reliable. OFH also offers us clinical refresher trainings, as well as additional training on effective management. These trainings enable us to successfully take care of our patients.”
Like many the other new OFH health posts in Rwanda, the Bunyoni HP opened in the midst of the global pandemic in March 2020, yet its positive impact within the community is already undeniable. Mrs. Dusabimana is committed to ensure the continued success of the Bunyoni HP, and she feels greatly supported by OFH in her mission. “We are happy to be able to offer quality primary care services that members of our community would otherwise have a hard time accessing,” Mrs. Dusabimana concluded.
One Family Health team in Rwanda is proud to announce the opening of Gizisa Health Post and 14 others in late December.
Since our last report, the team has been focused on training new franchisees as well as procuring and outfitting the new facilities with furniture, equipment, and an opening stock of drugs and medical supplies.
Training is a critical part of OFH's work with nurse-franchisees. Initial training is a two-week program, consisting of one week of classroom-based training that includes both a review of clinical protocols as well as practical orientation to operating a Health Post and being a business owner. The second week is spent shadowing an existing franchisee, during which the trainee observes processes and procedures put into practice and practices use of the mobile phone-based electronic system to capture patient data and record any products and services provided.
Equipping Gizisa and other new Health Posts brought logistical challenges, including roads that proved impassable to the large trucks delivering equipment. In one location where the truck could not reach the location of the Health Post, community members helped to carry the equipment the last few hundred meters to the facility itself.
One Family Health again thanks you for your contribution to our work expanding access to quality, affordable healthcare in rural Rwanda.
The team at One Family Health wishes to express our gratitude once again for your support and to share an update from Rwanda. Your contribution is directly supporting our work to expand our clinic network in Rwanda, which enables nurses to become business owners, supports them to deliver affordable, quality healthcare services, and helps rural communities build health as an asset.
Over the past few months, OFH has worked with local government authorities to identify the communities most in need, to assess potential clinic sites, and to confirm a plan for our next wave of expansion. OFH has now finalized a plan to open 32 new Health Posts in four districts: Burera, Rubavu, Rutsiro, and Musanze. District authorities and the Minister of Health have approved this expansion plan.
We have also begun the recruitment of nurse-franchisees to own and operate these new facilities. Our next step is to complete recruitment, conduct the initial training of franchisees. In parallel, OFH is initiating the procurement of equipment and initial drug supplies to outfit the Health Posts.
One such example is Gisiza Health Post, which is being constructed by the local government authorities. Located in Rutsiro District in western Rwanda on the coast of Lake Kivu, Gisiza is a remote community with a population of about 9,000 people. Without a health facility of their own, residents of Gisiza have always had to walk more than 6km across mountainous terrain to reach the nearest health facility.
Gisiza Health Post is expected to open in early December and will provide care for an estimated 7,000 patient visits annually.
The team at One Family Health wishes to express our gratitude once again for your contribution to our work and to share an update from Rwanda.
Your contribution helped raise $5,174 of our $10,000 goal for this year’s GlobalGiving campaign. Most importantly, your contribution will directly support our clinic network in Rwanda, which enables nurses to become business owners, to deliver affordable, quality healthcare services, and to help rural communities build health as an asset.
With your support, we are beginning the planning phase now for our next wave of expansion, which will include 30 new health posts. Recruitment of new nurses is beginning now and the site selection process will commence in June, where in collaboration with local government partners we will identify suitable sites that serve the communities most in need of health care. We expect to start opening new health posts in September.
As we begin the expansion process, we wish to share with you a brief story from one of our current franchisees.
Gaspard works in Kamato, a village in the northern district of Musanze. Gaspard embraced the opportunity to work with OFH because he wanted to continue working as a nurse, but also wanted the independence of being a business owner.
In a recent interview, Gaspard described the advantages of being supported by OFH. He appreciates not only the financing and support to open the business, but also assistance navigating the reimbursement process of the national insurance and being able to submit quarterly orders for drugs and supplies, which are in stock and delivered on time by OFH.
Gaspard currently sees 30-40 patients a day in the health post he runs with support from One Family Health. He has been able to repay his OFH-sponsored start-up loan and is managing his clinic with integrity. His final comments in the recent interview included a heartfelt thank you for the support from OFH and also a request to keep helping them with advocacy with local groups so they can continue to serve the patients in need in their community.
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