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Heroes’ Day: Rwandans Honor Frontline Workers

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As the government does its best to keep people safe from Covid-19, hence implementing measures like enforcing a lockdown, curfew, among others.

And, a certain group of people regarded as “frontline workers” are spared the privilege.

These include health workers, security forces and social workers who directly provide services to the community.

Their lives are arguably in danger than other groups of people because they are exposed to Covid-19 on a daily basis.

Although they use Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs), they require close contact with others, which is highly risky.

In appreciation, most Rwanda recognise the sacrifices frontline workers make to keep all of us safe.

As Rwandas celebrate Heroes’ every February, many are taking this opportunity to express their gratitude to these heroes, in addition to existing celebrated heroes.

They are people who showed the highest values of patriotism and sacrifice for the wellbeing of the country and citizens at large, and there is no doubt that frontline workers have showed the traits.

Speaking to Taarifa, different people appreciated them for risking their lives to save theirs, and wished them a happy Heroes’ day.

Pamela Mudakikwa, Communication Specialist

When the Covid-19 pandemic hit the world, no one was ready for it; both the knowledge and the resources to contain it were limited. People’s lives were at stake.

It took institutions and individuals with a heroic spirit to curb the virus spread while taking care of the affected and tailoring long-term solutions. Words will never be enough to express our heartfelt gratitude to the people at the frontline including health care providers for their unwavering devotion to take care of Covid19 patients. They make tremendous sacrifices, putting their own lives at risk so others may live. You are our living heroes. Thank you!

Masamba Intore, Gakondo artiste

Heroism manifests in different things, most especially in the development of the country, keeping security, and also contributing to the good health of citizens because they are the basis of any development in the country.
I would like to wish a happy Heroes’ day to frontline workers and all Rwandans. I also urge everyone to protect themselves and their loved ones from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ange Iliza, Journalist

When every life in the world is at stake, when the best anyone could do was stay indoors for their lives, and when hope was all that kept us going, you refueled it! You stepped up and risked your lives and your loved ones’ to fight the silent foe. No matter how draining and life-threatening, you abandoned your own lives to save others. We thank you, we owe you, and we are grateful for you. You are heroes and you deserve to be celebrated not just on February 1, but all the time. #Turashima

Joachim Kabeza, Cover artiste

Dear frontline workers, we thank you for putting your lives in danger to save ours during these trying times of the Covid-19 Pandemic.
Considering the way this virus spreads very fast, it is not everyone that would feel motivated to care for patients or even keep encouraging us to protect ourselves. But you, health workers, Rwanda National Police and others keeping us safe, we thank you for not giving up on us, not sleeping at night…just to protect us from any life-threatening thing from time to time.

Gentillesse Cyuzuzo, Student

I always wonder why they risk their lives for us when we don’t even know each other.
Dear frontline workers, from the bottom of my heart, I thank you for the work you are doing during this pandemic. I can only imagine how hard your job is right now. Many of us are doing our best to not catch the virus, and we don’t want to continue putting your lives in danger.
We want that you too can safely meet your families. And please know that many of us are very grateful for the heroism, and inspiring work you are doing. Take good care of yourselves and know that you are in our thoughts and prayers, we love you.

Andrew Kazungu, Public Servant

To all medics, security personnel, press, social workers and all frontline workers during this unprecedented time of Covid-19 pandemic.
As we commemorate heroic deeds of our forefathers who made our motherland, Rwanda, a country we all are proud of, history will regard you as Heroes as well. Thank you for being out there, crossing the line and putting your lives in the line of the deadly virus. Thank you for your humility, kindness and most of all, strength when everyone else wasn’t strong. We really appreciate you. To all nurses and physicians who endured the depression from critical conditioned patients in ICU and at worst saw lives succumbing to the pandemic and slipping through your hands, you are truly heroes and may God give you more strength and comfort you. We will stay home for you! Thank you for being there for us, together we shall beat the pandemic.

Assumpta Mukeshimana, Sports journalist

Despite the hardships and high risks of getting out of the comfort zone, I guess the heroes we are honoring today are the motivators of hundreds of frontline workers doing their life-saving work during the Covid-19 pandemic.
These ones are living heroes, caring for the most vulnerable to keep us safe. I personally appreciate the strength, empowerment and the great contribution of these frontline workers in this pandemic period.

Bonette Faiza Mizero, Sales& Marketing

Health care providers and security personnel, I’d only wish that God blesses you abundantly. For health workers, they take care of Covid-19 patients while risking their lives. They leave their families, some who are children in need of parental care, to spend nights at hospitals taking care of patients. We acknowledge your zeal for work and kindness. Although some of us don’t comply with measures to prevent the virus, we will help you by encouraging them to be responsible. Happy Heroes’ day.

Abi Gaelle Gisubizo, Social Entrepreneur

A huge thank you to all Covid-19 frontline workers who have been working tirelessly to help our community through this difficult time.
We will not forget all the care and commitment, especially to help vulnerable people during these trying times and. Your hard work is making positive difference in countless lives.

National

Regional Army Chiefs, Intel Directors Meet In Kigali To Discussion Reginal Security

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The Chiefs and Directors of Military Intelligence of the six EAC member States have today convened in Kigali for a two-day meeting. The meeting that ends tomorrow aims to review the regional security situation.

The Rwanda Defence Force Chief of Defence Staff, Gen J Bosco Kazura officially opened the meeting by urging the Chiefs and Directors of Military Intelligence to discuss what should be done to make sure that EAC member countries live together in peace and harmony.

“I want to express my appreciation to you for availing yourselves to discuss what should be done going forward in order to ensure peace, stability and harmony among our people,’’ said Gen Kazura, adding that there is a need to find home-grown solutions to own problems.

Col Raphael Kibiwot Kiptoo, the chair of Defence Liaison Officers, representing EAC Secretary General, said the quarterly meeting are organised in the framework of the EAC Protocol in Defence and Cooperation Affairs in order for the EAC Chiefs and Directors of Military intelligence of the EAC Armed Forces to develop strategies to ensure lasting peace and security in the EAC community.

The meeting was attended by EAC Chiefs and Directors of Military intelligence from Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda as well as Military Liaison Officials from EAC Secretariat.

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How The Red Cross Is Helping Dozens Of Rubavu Residents

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Residents of different sectors in Rubavu District are deeply delighted by the assistance and support extended to them by the Red Cross Society of Rwanda especially in aiding those that were affected by disasters.

In May 2021, the Nyiragongo Volcanic Mountain located in Congo erupted and left the residents of Rubavu in a miserable situation. Infrastructure, including houses, and roads were destroyed.

Jean Paul Uwiringiyimana, a resident of Bugeshi Sector in Rubavu District told Taarifa that previously, there is a lot in their day to day lives that they were not paying attention to but this has since changed.

He says that Red Cross has not only supported them with basic needs, it has also trained them on how to ensure proper sanitation in their places of residence, having vegetable gardens as well as handwashing facilities.

‘’The place we are settled in is one that yields a lot of agricultural produce but many people didn’t know how to prepare meals from our harvests,” he says, “but now we have been trained on how we are supposed to prepare meals out of our own produce.’’

Previously, there would be a lot of harvests such as vegetables and irish potatoes but instead of making nutritious meals for the family, they would instead sell them off leaving the family malnourished, inviting diseases such as kwashiorkor. Other diseases resulting from malnutrition were so common.

Jacquiline Tuyambaze, also a resident in the area, says that they used to eat a mixture of beans and irish potatoes and felt they have done their best to have a balanced diet.

‘’However, after the intervention of the Red Cross, we have learnt that a balanced diet consists of three types of food; carbohydrates, proteins and vitamins…we used to think of having all the three food types in one sitting as something really hard and expensive but we have since learnt that we can actually get all the food types from the crops that we grow ourselves,’’ she says.

On hygiene, she says,  “we have learnt that we must wash our hands with clean water and soap every time we are going to eat, after visiting the latrines… we are now living healthier lives.’’

They also boil water for drinking, a practice they have learnt with the help of the Red Cross.

Training Residents on the saving culture.

Besides training the residents on ensuring proper hygiene and eating a balanced diet, the Red Cross advised the residents to develop a saving culture through saving groups.

Anastase  Hitiyaremye, who is a member of the ‘’Duharanire Ubuzima Bwiza’’ Saving Group located in Bereshi Village in Bugeshi Sector, says that since they began saving in the Saving Group, he has seen its benefit to him personally and his family because there is no case where he can be in need of small amounts of money and he fails to get it.

‘’We have so far saved a total of Rwf 123,500. We are planning on buying animals such as goats, sheep, pigs among others which will be of great importance to our homes including providing manure,” he says.

As for Andre Nsengiyumva , he knew nothing about saving but after receiving training sessions from the Red Cross, he has had a change in his financial discipline.

He says, ‘’Previously, I used to harvest a lot of irish potatoes and I would get a lot of money but since we had no saving culture, all the money would be wasted in worthless ventures such as buying alcohol for my friends but now there is a certain amount of money that I save weekly as a must in our Saving Group.’’

Construction of modern handwashing facilities in schools

Handwashing is one of the measures that was put in place to curb the spread of the Covid-19 virus and it was noted that a number of schools in Rubavu District had issues of putting in place handwashing facilities for students.

Emmanuel  Habiyaremye,  the Headteacher of Gitebe II Primary and Secondary school says that the school has a total of 1,171 students who have to share just two handwashing facilities that are manually filled with water every now and then by a school employee and every jerrycan costs Rwf 100.

He says that a lot of efforts had to be applied in order for the students to be able to get water to wash their hands because there is no water source in the neighborhood. It would cost the school Fwf 800,000 to cover a distance of 300 meters and the school doesn’t have that amount of money.

The Red Cross has since built them twelve modern washing facilities and the budget that had been allocated to buying water for the students to be able to wash their hands has now been diverted to construction of a kitchen where meals for the students will be prepared from.

Bazaramwiranande Jean Damascene, Headteacher of Pfunda Primary and Secondary School shares the same vies with his counterpart from Gitebe II school as he says that currently, his school has a total of 1.154 and there is an expected increase in the number by around 300 students next year.

Other schools in the district are receiving the same assistance.

Assistance to residents neighboring River Sebeya

Among the many beneficiaries of the Red Cross were the disadvantaged persons whose houses were renovated after they were destroyed by River Sebeya which normally floods and destroys people’s homes.

Maniteze Venatie says that her house was destroyed by the river and she was left homeless. Well-wishers accommodated her until the Red Cross offered her iron sheets and cement to construct a new house. She also received food assistance because floods had destroyed her gardens and she had nothing to eat.

In other activities, the Red Cross has a team of volunteers that was trained them with rescuing and first aid skills. In 2020, this team helped in recovering the bodies of a boat accident in Lake Kivu on DRC side.

Emmanuel Mazimpaka, the Red Cross Head of Communication, Fundraising and Humanitarian Diplomacy Department says that they are pleased with their efforts because they can see that the livelihoods of people in Rubavu District have been uplifted.

“’It is not only in Rubavu Distric, where we have built the modern hand-washing facilities. We have done this in 62 schools around the country and this has cost over Rwf 200 million,” he says.

“Red Cross as a government partner, our role is to help the citizens that have been affected by natural disasters or war as well as improving the livelihoods of the disadvantaged.’’

The Red Cross is also involved in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic through its awareness campaigns as well as helping over 7000 homes get food.

The Vice Mayor of Rubavu District in charge of Welfare, Ishimwe Pacifique , said that the Red Cross has continued to be a very outstanding partner in solving the issues of the residents which include flooding of River Sebeya, the strong winds from the volcanoes, which destroy houses and gardens of residents, Covid-19 and the recent Nyiragongo Volcanic eruptions.

She said, ‘’The Red Cross is a very important partner in Rubavu District because of what it has done.”

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Government Shuts Down Baho International Hospital

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The Ministry of Health has closed Baho International Hospital after the death of a patient identified as Chantal lost her life at the health service facility earlier this month.

The death was a result of a simple family planning procedure which turned out fatal, prompting the ministry to put in place a Joint Investigation Team to investigate the alleged clinical malpractices.

This team consisted of 9 individuals who started their investigations on September 10, 2021 and were expected to provide a comprehensive report in 5 working days.

Health Minister, Dr. Daniel Ngamije, confirmed the closure of the Nyarutarama based hospital.  He said, ‘’In the coming days, we shall offer a communication on not only the closure of Baho International Hospital but to all private health facilities requesting them to comply with the standards as well as requesting them to up the quality of their services.’’

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