Ministers of Health from Rwanda and Senegal Visit Swiss TPH

Yesterday, Sabin Nsanzimana, Minister of Health from Rwanda and Ibrahima Sy, Ministre de la Santé et de l’Action Sociale from Senegal, visited Swiss TPH. The delegations discussed health sector priorities in their respective countries as well as current and potential future collaborations with Swiss TPH in the fields of research, education and services. The two ministers - both Swiss TPH alumni - also took the time to interact with students.

On 30 May 2024, Eva Herzog, President of the Board of Governors at Swiss TPH, and Jürg Utzinger, Director of Swiss TPH, welcomed Sabin Nsanzimana, Minister of Health of Rwanda, and Ibrahima Sy, Ministre de la Santé et de l’Action Sociale of Senegal, at Swiss TPH. The aim of the high-level visit was to discuss current and potential future collaborations between Swiss TPH and partners in Rwanda and Senegal. A particular interest for collaboration was identified in the areas of epidemiological and biomedical research, health prevention and system strengthening as well as individual and institutional capacity strengthening approaches.

"To say the very least, it was a tremendous pleasure to welcome two health ministers to Swiss TPH in a single day," said Jürg Utzinger. "Both dear colleagues are role models and sources of inspirations that demonstrate the power of partnerships built on trust and mutual learning to improve the health and well-being of people around the world."

Exploring common topics of interest

Sabin Nsanzimana, Minister of Health in Rwanda, presented on the priorities in the Rwandan healthcare system, including disease control approaches, malnutrition and teenage pregnancy. The Swiss TPH delegation talked about the current portfolio of activities in Rwanda, including clinical decision support tools, HIV/AIDS, sexual and reproductive health, food systems and health and malaria research.

Ibrahima Sy, Ministre de la Santé et de l’Action Sociale in Senegal, presented on the new comprehensive health strategy in his country, including resource optimization, emergency care, health prevention and health insurance. "Our aim is to ensure health is integrated in all policies," he emphasised. Swiss TPH representatives provided an overview of activities in Senegal ranging from health impact assessment of large footprint projects, improved access of medicines for neglected tropical diseases, digital tools for child health and verifying the funding implementation from the Global Fund as Local Fund Agent.

Student networks as a career booster

The two ministers also took the time to meet with current students at Swiss TPH, given their strong personal and institutional links to Swiss TPH: Sabin Nsanzimana pursued his PhD at Swiss TPH, while Ibrahima Sy collaborated with Swiss TPH during his PhD and postdoctoral studies.

The ministers stressed that the Swiss TPH student network is unique and staying in touch with fellow students is key for a career in research, the private sector or politics. "Don’t lose the allies you have in this room!" Nsanzimana said. They also highlighted the importance of capacity strengthening and the opportunities of former students bringing knowledge and skills back their home countries. Finally, they advised the students to look beyond their specific research topic and that they always aim to ultimately take science to impact.

Subscribe to our newsletter and get all the latest research news, project updates, course and event listings from Swiss TPH.