Feature: Chinese-built projects improve quality of life in northern Rwanda

Updated: November 17, 2022 Source: Xinhua News Agency
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KIGALI, Nov. 16 (Xinhua) -- The China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) has played a key role in developing infrastructures aimed at improving the quality of life for residents living in northern Rwanda's Burera district.

One such project is the expansion and reconstruction of the first phase of the Butaro District Hospital. Under a construction deal reached in December 2021 with the Global Health Partnership, the Chinese firm was contracted to expand the hospital's capacity from 140 beds to 240, covering a total area of about 4,200 square meters that come with an emergency room and cancer center.

The project also involved the installation of water and electricity systems, as well as ventilation along with air conditioning systems.

The district hospital will be upgraded into the Butaro Regional Medical and Health Center and become the only major hospital in the local area with an intensive care unit upon completion of the expansion works.

In the future, it is also expected to serve as a teaching hospital and medical research institution of the Global Health Equity University in the same region. It will provide medical internship opportunities for students, and serve as a training ground for highly skilled medical and health personnel in Rwanda.

Late Paul Farmer, founder of the Global Health Partnership, together with senior officials of the Rwandan Ministry of Health attended the groundbreaking ceremony of the Butaro District Hospital, where he stressed its importance and expectations after its upgrading.

On Sept. 20 this year, personnel from the Chinese firm working on the hospital expansion project also carried out voluntary upgrading of municipal roads in the region which has helped ease movement and reduce accidents.

The road is the only mode of transport for the movement of people and transportation of agricultural produce and other products in the area, but there has always been a serious safety challenge. The main road had a sharp bend, whereby the protruding earthwork near the side of the hill greatly affected visibility, leading to several accidents, especially during the rainy season.

Under such circumstances, the personnel got themselves involved in reconstructing the dangerous road stretch to help ease movement for local residents.

After discussions with the local government, the company undertook the project with a specific implementation plan. The road was thus upgraded within time with minimum interruption to traffic flow due to the use of competent personnel and proper coordination, thereby improving the visibility at the previous bends.

Residents say no accident has occurred in the particular road section following the reconstruction.

One resident of the Burera district, who identified himself only as Sam, expressed gratitude to the Chinese company for helping in the road upgrading. "Before the road reconstruction, major and minor accidents occurred every month in this area and it was risky driving through. But now it is clear as the driver is able to see the oncoming cars on the opposite side to avoid accidents. Thanks to our friendly Chinese neighbors."

Cui Ming, project manager of the expansion project at the Butaro District Hospital, said he felt happy working on these projects that help improve the quality of life for local residents. "We also employ local staff. This is part of our social corporate responsibility which helps cement our friendship."

Data from the Chinese firm show that since the start of the hospital expansion project, a total of 1,500 local residents have been given jobs. The company has also provided various skills training opportunities to the locals. 

Editor: Gao Jingyan