One of the most remarkable parts of being engaged on Twitter is the types of global health “celebrities” who have begun to engage actively on this network. Whether it be Richard Horton, the editor of the Lancet asking readers for input, Rob Yates, Senior Health Economist at the WHO extolling the virtues of free health care services, or Martin McKee linking to his weekly publications in top ranked journals, there is never a dull moment for me.
But perhaps one of the most interesting personalities to have begun to engage actively via Twitter is Agnes Binagwaho, the Minister of Health of Rwanda, who in addition to tweeting actively runs a regular #MinisterMonday discussions where she asks Tweeps to submit questions in real time and she responds to them publicly via Twitter.
This morning she used Twitter in another way: she announced that the Ministry of Health has issued a 3-month ultimatum to all hospitals in Rwanda to build sufficient toilets in their facilities or risk losing the additional financing that has come online in Rwanda through what is known as the “Performance Based Financing (PBF)” scheme. I love it: it is bold, it is unconventional, and it might even work. Toilets are not sexy but I can tell you as a pregnant woman myself, they are completely indispensable in my life and the thought of spending anytime at a facility – even a hospital – without one is unthinkable (and we wonder why women don’t like delivering in public hospitals?).
In my view, Rwanda has become a bit of an outlier in recent years in health system improvement efforts, largely due to this unconventional approach to implementing programs and their willingness to try new things. Perhaps this initiative might even catch on elsewhere?Share on Facebook