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Community Health Workers raise Rwf14 billion in assets

Community Health Workers (CHW), through their cooperatives, have accumulated Rwf11.2 billion in immovable assets, and Rwf3.5 billion in cash deposited in banks, figures from the Ministry of Health show.

Their assets are mainly commercial buildings, farms, forests, and vehicles, Dr. Diane Gashumba, Minister of Health told Sunday Times.

She said the ministry was working with Rwanda Cooperative Agency and BDF to build the capacity of CHWs cooperatives for them to run viable and profitable businesses.

“We have collaboration with BDF, so they are helping us to assess any project CHW cooperatives want to invest in to make sure that it is viable, and to even provide guarantee whenever needed,” she said.

Minister for Health, Dr Diane Gashumba dances with Community Health workers of Busegera. / Sam Ngendahimana

The community health worker initiative started in 1995 as a pilot programme with 12,000 members but because of good results and impact, it was scaled up to over 58,445 CHWs currently.

They are grouped in 488 cooperatives and women make up 65 percent.

Patience Mazimpaka, the president of Community Health Workers in Karongi District which constructed a commercial building called Agaciro Legacy Mall in 2017 told Sunday Times that the building is considered a reflection on the role of the community health worker.

She said that the building is worth over Rwf350 million and it is estimated it will generate about Rwf1.2 million revenues from rent per month.

It is the property of 22 CHW cooperatives in Karongiwith over 1,600 members,.

In Musanze District, more than 1,290 Community Health Workers grouped in 15 cooperatives so far have Rwf161 million on their bank account.

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Mathias Nkiranya, the President of their cooperative said they want to request aRwf850 million loan from Development Bank of Rwanda (BRDto set up a livestock processing factory.

“Because we do not have a modern slaughter house in Musanze District, there is a ready market of people who will be bringing livestock that they want slaughtered for meat and they will be paying for such service,” he said.

Talking of the implications of community health workers working in cooperatives, Gashumba said that it helps them to be economically stable so they can take care of their families because they spend a lot of time giving care to the communities.

“It is also a retention mechanism in the scheme. It’s good that they have been volunteering for many years, but the government found a solution to support them [through cooperative model],” she observed.  (Source / The New Times)

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