Rwanda launched a campaign on Sunday aimed at promoting gender equality in healthcare, especially mental health services.
The year-long campaign dubbed “We Are Equal” is part of the continental initiative by the Organization of African First Ladies for Development (OAFLAD). It will focus on raising awareness of mental health as well as the prevention and early detection of non-communicable diseases.
Speaking at the launching event in the Rwandan capital of Kigali, Yvan Butera, Rwandan minister of state in the Ministry of Health, emphasized the importance of mental health.
“We encourage individuals and households to take care of their mental health while fighting mental health stigma,” he said, adding that dealing with mental health issues is something that can affect anyone.
Health officials said some people still seek traditional healers for mental cases while others are reluctant to seek healthcare due to related stigma and lack of awareness.
The launched campaign “promotes wellness for all, through gender equality, with a focus on mental health as it is the foundation for our wellbeing,” Rwanda’s First Lady Jeannette Kagame said, adding that “we are equal, and together we can thrive.”
Butera said gender inequality mostly affects women in the form of gender-based violence or any other form of inequality, which effectively impacts their mental health.
Butera also noted that the Ministry of Health has devised mechanisms aimed at scaling up mental health services, which will see health centers across the country have mental health workers this year.
The campaign calls for urgent action to advance gender equity and to close the gender gap in Africa. According to the OAFLAD, closing the gender gap in Africa “is not an act of charity for girls and women, but an act of justice and common sense that will benefit all.”
Source : XinHua