In Rwanda, we have a universal health coverage and patients can get their medical treatments in public hospitals by referral or in private hospitals. The medical care, on the other hand, doesn’t cover food which leaves the poorest patients in a difficult position to provide their own food while hospitalized.
In Kigali’s largest referral hospital, 80% of the patients are from rural areas. This leaves them with no options as to what will be their source of food.
After realizing that vulnerable patients in CHUK Hospital suffered from food insecurity, Solid’Africa, a local non-profit organization, started bringing food to patients. Solid’Africa started feeding 5 patients, but today it is able to feed up to 400 vulnerable patients through its main program: “Gemura
Food for all”.
In the process to become self-reliant and ensure sustainable food for all in public hospitals, Solid’Africa is currently cultivating 80% of the ingredients that it needs and the meals prepared are of natural value. Solid’Africa is able to crop enough cereals, fruits and vegetables to feed their beneficiaries. To do so, the organization employs 40 farmers per season.
By cultivating its own food, Solid’Africa has developed a farm to fork approach where it controls the value chain of the meals as well as the cost.
This approach also allows Solid’Africa to reduce food waste and shortage by cultivating food quantities based on the need at hand.
With the growing need to ensure food security in public hospitals, in partnership with Imbuto Foundation, Solid’Africa is implementing the Mike Stendbock-Gemura Kitchen project: The first Rwanda’s industrial kitchen that is able to feed up to 1000 patients living under the poverty line with 3 meals/day, throughout the 6 main public hospitals in Kigali. In order to make this initial plan viable, the kitchen will provide professional catering/meal delivery to several organizations and hospitals, primarily for lunchtime. The catering service will provide healthy lunches at an affordable price in a setting where in Kigali, healthy meals means costly meals for the average Rwandan.
It’s in this frame of work that Solid’Africa is contributing to reduce hunger, malnutrition and food related diseases by making healthy food available to vulnerable patients, hospital staff and employees of different institutions.
The focus of the project is to tackle food security challenges in public hospitals not only in the 47 district hospitals in Rwanda but also across the region and possibly the continent.