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Rwanda blacklists over 1,000 skin bleaching products 

KIGALI (Xinhua) -- Rwandan Ministry of Health has blacklisted 1,343 skin bleaching products containing high levels of hydroquinone, which puts users at the risk of suffering skin cancer, an official said Saturday.

On a talk show on the national TV station Rwanda Television on Saturday, Patrick Ndimubanzi, the state minister of public and primary healthcare, warned the public against skin bleaching products, saying they are harmful and dangerous to their skins.

Laboratory tests done on samples of these products found more than permissible levels of hydroquinone, he said.

He also warned traders against the importation and sale of substandard products.

The affected products are mainly imported.

The issue of substandard skin bleaching products, which are especially popular with women and girls in the central African country, has been in the news since last week after Rwandan President Paul Kagame said the use of prohibited chemicals was “quite unhealthy.”

The Rwandan police said Thursday that a recent joint operation by the Rwandan authorities have seized more than 5,000 assorted substandard bleaching products from beauty shops in different parts of the country, such as body oils, lotions, and toilet soaps.



KIGALI Rwanda (Xinhua) -- Rwanda on Friday launched a six-month awareness and prevention campaign aimed at stemming new HIV infections in the country at a ceremony to mark the World AIDS Day.

The campaign seeks to improve awareness on accessibility and availability of HIV testing services in Rwanda, said Patrick Ndimubanzi, state minister of public and primary healthcare, at the ceremony in Musanze district, northern Rwanda.

This campaign would help promote and facilitate HIV prevention, care, and treatment and reinforce people’s willingness to participate in HIV interventions, said Ndimubanzi.

HIV self-test kits will be availed in pharmacies and online for purchase through smart phones or internet in order to boost people’s willingness to participate in HIV interventions, he said.

At the ceremony, condoms and other HIV preventive materials were freely distributed to participants and hundreds of people voluntarily participated in HIV testing.

HIV prevalence rate in Rwanda is at 3 percent since 2005 due to the numerous strategies in place, Jeanine Condo, director general of Rwanda Biomedical Center, said at the ceremony.

HIV preventive and treatment services have been scaled up to more than 90 percent of health facilities across the country, figures of Rwanda Biomedical Center showed.

HIV and AIDS from mother to child transmission has been reduced to less than 2 percent while provision of anti-retroviral treatments reaches to all HIV positive people in need and for free, according to the ministry of health.



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