Rwanda Health Systems Strengthening Project: 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.

{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.

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