The newly appointed Representative of the World Health Organization (WHO) to the Republic of Rwanda, Dr Kasonde Mwinga, presented her credentials to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr Richard Sezibera, on the 22 of May 2019. The Minister accepted the credentials and welcomed Dr Mwinga to Rwanda. In her remarks, the WHO Representative congratulated the Government of Rwanda for its various achievements in the health sector. She particularly commended Rwanda’s visionary leadership, its culture of being results focused and its use of innovative solutions to improve health and wellbeing. She indicated that the past success in achieving Millennium Goal Targets is a good stepping-stone towards the Sustainable Development Goals. Dr Mwinga acknowledged the Government’s good collaboration with WHO. She assured the Minister that WHO would continue to collaborate in health matters in alignment with national priorities. She indicated that WHO’s work in Rwanda will focus on promoting health and wellbeing, protection from health emergencies and Universal Health Coverage. The WHO Representative pledged her full support to fulfill key health priorities and promote health in other sector policies to accelerate attainment of the SDGs.
The Rwandan Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation stated that the country has enjoyed good working relations with WHO across the three levels of the Organization. In Rwanda, health is the pillar for all development and is placed high on the national agenda by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Rwanda. The Minister indicated that the broad scope of the SDGs necessitates working across sectors and engaging the communities in addressing the determinants of health. He pointed out that decentralization, the Community Health Workers initiative, Performance Based Financing and the Community Based Health Insurance scheme continue to play a significant role in strong ownership and good performance of the health sector in Rwanda. He commended the WHO Director General’s message to countries on the adoption of Universal Health Coverage as a means to ensuring "no one is left behind". Dr Sezibera reiterated his full support to WHO and invited Dr. Mwinga to work with the Ministry of Health as the line Ministry as well as support collaborative capacities with other health contributing sectors.
Dr Mwinga was appointed as the new World Health Organization (WHO) Representative in Rwanda from 1 May 2019. She joined WHO in 2001 and has served in various capacities in several countries.
Dr Mwinga is a pediatrician and public health specialist. Her previous roles include Team Leader in WHO India and Acting WHO Representative, Eritrea. She has worked in WHO African Regional Office, in Brazzaville and in WHO Zambia. Before joining WHO, she worked as a paediatrician/lecturer in Zambia. She holds a Master in Public Health from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in the United States, Health Management postgraduate certificate from Birmingham University in the United Kingdom and medical degrees (MBChB, MMed –Paed and B.SC.HB) from the University of Zambia.