Older people claim Rights to Health and access to Health services

Hon. Gahongayire commissioner of the National Commission for Human Rights.

As Universal Coverage(UHC) is defined as everyone, everywhere being able to access the quality health and care services they need without suffering financial hardship, and achieving UHC is target 3.8 of the sustainable development Goals, recommitted to by Heads of State in Political Declaration of the High-Level Meeting on UHC 2019. It is against this background that older persons claim their rights to health and access to health services.

Older persons under NSINDAGIZA as members of GAROP and Helpage International, on Thursday, March, 2,2023 in Nyarugenge District, Kigali city organized a round-table with government officials, UN agencies, civil society, and representatives of the older persons to share ideas on “Rights to Health and access to Health services ” and “Social Inclusion” with the objective to identifying the barriers older people face to enjoying their right to health, and discuss the role of older, UN agencies, CSOs, Governments, and NHRIs in the process to ensure quality services for all, and advocate for the UN Convention as they also claim Rights to health and access to health services.

Some of the older persons under Nsindagiza discussing the issues that affect their rights.

Elie Mugabowishema, president of NSINDAGIZA Organisation said that older people are suffering financial hardship and are not having quality health services and care services because of not capable to afford medicaments for incurable diseases they used to suffer.”

Access to health care service is a big problem to the older people who are used to suffer from incurable diseases and are suffering financial hardship, consequently they are not having quality health services and care services because of not being capable to afford medicaments where their health insurance cannot cover all the costs of those medicaments and there is nowhere to find money either in banks because banks can’t give older people loans to create their generating income business.”Mugabowishema said

Elie Mugabowishema , president of NSINDAGIZA Organisation

We are here to ask the Rwandan government, older people, CSOs, media, private sector, and UN agencies to work jointly to establish the international conventions on the rights of older persons.”‘Mugabowishema added.

Joyce Murenzi, a lecturer at the University of Rwanda’s College of Medicine and Health Sciences said that an older person needs to be assisted and informed about his or her illness by a healthcare provider, but remains a victim of a lack of enough medical personnel who do not have time to give efficient services to everyone.

“Besides the government’s intervention to increase the number of students we teach, there is a need for a special rule to give priority to older persons to be served before others and give them access to quality health services.” She advised.

A policy for older people has been established

Aurélie Gahongayire, commissioner at National Commission for Human Rights(NCHR) says that the Government of Rwanda has made a step by setting a policy for older persons, reflecting their rights to healthcare, and laws that protect them.

“Our Country has made a step by setting up a policy for older persons, reflecting their rights to healthcare, and laws that protect them.  We will continue to do the follow-up of the implementation of this policy.”Gahongayire said

Boniface Rucagu,member of Rwanda elders advisory Forum.


On the other hand, Boniface Rucagu, a member of the Rwanda elders Advisory Forum advises Rwandans to not wait for the international convention to be established, but rather, to take care of older persons.

“We should not wait for the international convention on the rights of older persons to be, because elderly people are ours, and we owe them respect putting into action Rwandan culture and values,” Rucagu said

About Age with Rights Global Rally Campaign

The Global Alliance for the Rights of older people (GAROP) launched the “Age with Rights” campaign in February 2021 to present a unified, visible presence and amplify the voices of older people and civil society organizations in the virtual session of the UN Open Ended Working Group on Ageing (OEWGA11) held in April 2021.

On 3rd March 2022, there was the first Global Rally as part of this campaign. The rally was a key moment ahead of the 12th OEWG session (OEWG12) in April 2022 to encourage governments to attend OEWG12 and support drafting a new convention on the rights of older people.

The Global Rally is a key part of the age with Rights campaign and the second Global Rally in 2023 will take place over the course of the week from 27th February to 5th March 2023 ahead of OEWG13 due to take place from 3rd to 6th April 2023.

Clementine Nyirangaruye

Sangiza abandi iyi nkuru

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