Access to quality vaccines, medicines, and health technologies in Rwanda

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EU-Enabel contribution to Rwanda’s Health workforce through Master and PhD programmes in Biotechnology

  • EU-Enabel contribution to Rwanda’s Health workforce through Master and PhD programmes in Biotechnology

Enabel through Access to quality vaccines, medicines, and health technology in Rwanda – KWIGIRA Project, funded by the  European Union has an objective to ensure access to quality vaccines, medicines and health technology in Rwanda by assisting Rwanda Foods and Drugs Authority (FDA) to protect public health and to reach Maturity Level 3 (ML3) of World Health Organisation (WHO)  Global Benchmarking Tool (GBT) to be able to attract Rwanda pharmaceutical investments and protect public health.

WHO maturity level 3 refers to a stable, effective, and well-functioning regulatory institution which is required to guarantee quality of products. Strengthening Rwanda FDA to attain WHO ML3 and beyond will facilitate the Government of Rwanda’s vision for vaccine and other essential health products manufacturing in the country and reduce on dependence of medical products imported, not only for Rwanda but also for the region.

The  outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and the underlying critical issue of access to vaccines has shown Africa’s vulnerability. The recent strategic initiative by the Government of Rwanda to establish a vaccines manufacturing plant is among the solutions to addressing this challenge. Beyond the health sector, the growing impact of climate change demands rapid responses in terms of climate-resilient agriculture to ensure food security.
Biotechnology and its applications also span across other strategic sectors including food, water, environment and waste management industries. Thus, developing a pole of competence in Biotechnology appears to be one of the toolkits for strengthening higher learning training, research and innovation, and of positioning the country as a benchmark for the sub-region in the field of Biotechnology, in particular by promoting the generation and production of added value bio-products and bio-processes of economic importance.  This programme, funded by the European Union, is tailored to national needs and societal demands, while improving professional skills in the field.

Candidates are from the College of Medicine and Health Sciences, College of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine and the College of Science and Technology.  “Training is paramount in this project to ensure skilled Human Resources. The MSc and PhD in Biotechnology will strengthen Rwanda’s ambition in the vaccines, medicines and other bio-products manufacturing thus achieving the third Sustainable Development Goal “Good Health and Well-being” said Dirk Deprez, Resident Representative of Enabel in Rwanda.  

In August 2022, in partnership with Academie de recherche et d’enseignement superieur (ARES) a validation workshop was conducted in Kigali to validate the curriculum. This validation workshop brought together different stakeholders including the University of Rwanda (UR), Université Libre de Bruxelles, Université de Grenoble, University of Cameroun as well as University of New York – Abu Dhabi.
The universities that are partnering with the University of Rwanda in this undertaking have a long-standing history of coordination and collaboration with the UR in the past. The MSc. provides a good opportunity to foster this relationship. The two partner universities also have excellent science and research programmes that will support the UR in achieving the vision of Rwanda to improve professional skills in field of Biotechnology and manufacturing of vaccines.  

The 2-year Program of master's in biotechnology is expected to be launched in 2023 after its accreditation from Rwanda's High Education Council. The first cohort of 25 Master’s and 5 PhD students in Biotechnology will be financed through the Kwigira Project.   

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