BUJUMBURA July 2nd (ABP) – President Pierre Nkurunziza proceeded at the Kiranzira Paholina hotel, Gatumba zone, Mutimbuzi commune, Bujumbura province (western Burundi) on Friday June 28, 2019, to the opening of the works of the 5th Annual General Assembly of the National Social Protection Commission (CNPS) whose main objective was the evaluation of the step taken in the implementation of the recommendations of the 4th General Assembly held in Cibitoke in March 2018, a check by ABP revealed.

In his speech, the Head of State and Chairman of the CNPS indicated that the national social protection policy is one of the major concerns of the country and that measures aimed at the implementation of that policy were taken, including the provision of free health care for children under 5 and mothers giving birth, school canteens and the nutrition program and the Merankabandi program.

For President Nkurunziza, the step taken is satisfactory, but much remains to be done to ensure that the implementation of the national social protection policy is effective. The necessary measures will be taken whenever necessary.

He called on governors and communal administrators to play their role in implementing social protection policy by getting involved in the food collection to support the vulnerable in the neighborhood especially since the harvest has been good this season. President Nkurunziza invited them to do all the best to ensure that there is a massive membership in mutual health insurance because the current situation leaves much to be desired, with 2% of members.

In her welcoming speech, the governor of the Bujumbura province, Ms. Nadine Gacuti, said that in the implementation of the national social protection policy, her province has targeted the elderly who are now treated free of charge.

The representative of the World Food Program (WFP), who at the same time represents the technical and financial partners, said that she was honored to be one of the partners involved in social protection in Burundi, especially for children, by setting up school canteens and nutrition. She added that WFP is committed to supporting the Burundi government in implementing the national social protection policy and in mobilizing resources from partners.

The Minister of Human Rights, Social Affairs and Gender, Mr. Martin Nivyabandi, said that the holding of that General Assembly was an opportunity to self-evaluate and see the step taken in the implementation of the recommendations of the 4th General Assembly, particularly the implementation of the Merankabandi social sector support project in the four pilot provinces such as Gitega, Karuzi, Ruyigi and Kirundo.

According to Minister Nivyabandi, solidarity is a value that characterized our ancestors. They helped each other and helped vulnerable people in their society. He said that the Merankabandi program has started and now supports 50,090 people while only 48,000 were expected.

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