Rwanda: Our Impact

 {Photo Credit: Ruhengeri Hospital staff}Patients waiting at Ruhengeri Hospital Internal Medicine Ward.Photo Credit: Ruhengeri Hospital staff

When Ruhengeri Hospital in northern Rwanda upgraded from a district to a referral hospital in 2014, it began receiving cases from 15 health centers in its own district and from five hospitals in surrounding districts. In 2015 alone, the hospital experienced close to 6,000 monthly outpatient visits, about 25 percent above previous levels and now among the highest in the entire country. Such numbers proved how important the status upgrade had been in relation to local health needs, but the facility struggled to consistently meet those needs.

When her daughter was born three months early and had to be delivered by caesarean section, Helen was frightened. “Giving birth is sometimes scary. It was even scarier for me because I didn’t give birth the natural way that I wanted,” she said. Thanks to care provided by staff in the maternal unit of Kibungo hospital, a provincial hospital in eastern Rwanda, Helen healed well and her baby was healthy. Her story might have had a different outcome just a few years ago.

 {Photo Credit: Todd Shapera}Gisenyi District Hospital, RwandaPhoto Credit: Todd Shapera

Rwanda’s Community-Based Health Insurance (CBHI) scheme has greatly increased access to health care services and reduced the burden of health care costs, especially for the poor, according to a recent study from Management Sciences for Health (MSH) and the University of Rwanda-College of Medicine and Health Sciences-School of Public Health (UR-CMHS-SPH, or SPH), supported by The Rockefeller Foundation.

 {Graphic: African Strategies for Health}Officials from nine African countries convened in Ghana to find solutions to common challenges of attaining universal health coverage (UHC) with sustainability and improved quality of care.Graphic: African Strategies for Health

by African Strategies for Health The goals of universal health coverage (UHC) can only be delivered when access to health services and financial risk protection are equitably addressed.

{Photo credit: Philbert Rugumire}Photo credit: Philbert Rugumire

In just two years, staff at Ruhengeri referral hospital in the Northern Province of Rwanda reduced the rate of newborn deaths within their facility to 1.4 percent, one-third of their 2013 baseline. Neonatal mortality in this facility is now half the sub-Saharan African average of 2.8 percent in 2015 (WHO Global Health Observatory Data Repository).

 {Photo credit: MSH}Attendees at the Rwanda Health Systems Strengthening Activity launch in Kigali.Photo credit: MSH

The US Agency for International Development (USAID), Rwanda’s Ministry of Health (MOH), and implementing partner Management Sciences for Health (MSH) launched the Rwanda Health Systems Strengthening Activity (RHSSA) in Kigali on Tuesday. Development partners and guests of honor Health Minister Agnes Binagwaho and USAID Rwanda Mission Director Peter Malnak attended the event. The five-year project officially began on November 17, 2014.

After five years of partnership with the Rwandan Ministry of Health, the Integrated Health Systems Strengthening Project (IHSSP) is drawing to a close. The project, leaders from the MSH home office, USAID Rwanda, and local and international partners gathered in Kigali on November 13 to celebrate the project’s many successes and share the wealth of knowledge it generated. Dr. Agnes Binagwaho, Rwanda’s Minister of Health, thanked MSH for the support it provided, which she said, “…enabled us to accelerate health progress and helped us to achieve our vision.”

 {Photo credit: Todd Shapera.}Community health workers and children, Rwanda.Photo credit: Todd Shapera.

It has been 20 years since the genocide that killed over a million citizens and devastated the Rwandan health system and economy. In some respects, it feels more recent. Our memories of both the violence and our collective inadequacies in the international response are still raw. But the progress Rwanda has made toward economic and social stability in just two decades is astonishing and a cause for celebration.   

 {Photo Credit: Candide Tran Ngoc/MSH}Mr. Nkurunziza Justin, human resources manager at Kibungo Provincial Hospital in Rwanda.Photo Credit: Candide Tran Ngoc/MSH

The health workforce is the core of every health system. In Rwanda, where qualified clinical staff are in short supply—the country has an average of one nurse for every 1,500 inhabitants and one doctor per 15,306 citizens —efficiently allocating human resources is crucial to the provision of quality services.

 {Photo credit: Zina Jarrah/MSH, Tanzania.}A community health worker takes blood to check for malaria.Photo credit: Zina Jarrah/MSH, Tanzania.

Diarrhea, malaria, and pneumonia are leading causes of child mortality, accounting for nearly 44 percent of deaths among children under five worldwide.

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