MSH in Rwanda: Moving the Health System toward Vision 2020

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.”

Peter Malnak, the USAID Mission Director said, “USAID could not be more proud of the impressive things the project has been able to achieve. From the implementation of the national health insurance scheme, to the development of policies and strategies that will assist Rwanda to eventually finance its own healthcare, the Integrated Health System Strengthening project has helped put Rwanda’s health system on track to long term sustainability and quality.”

IHSSP’s goal was to improve the health of all Rwandans through better access to quality health services. The project did this by improving Rwanda’s information management, health financing, human resources for health, and quality of care and by helping to decentralize the country’s health services and management.

MSH has worked continuously in Rwanda through USAID-funded projects since 2004 when it launched the HIV Performance-Based Financing (HIV/PBF) project (2004 – 2009), which developed an incentive-based financing system for all Rwandan facilities. IHSSP built on the performance-based financing project’s success, further strengthening the country’s health financing system through revisions to the Rwandan community-based health insurance scheme. We are thrilled to be able to continue our partnership with the Rwandan Ministry of Health through the Rwanda Health System Strengthening (RHSS) project, which began on November 17, 2014.

RHSS will build on the work of its predecessor projects by continuing to work with the Government of Rwanda and Rwandan Ministry of Health to build their capacity to plan, lead, and implement strategic interventions aimed at strengthening key health system structures and processes, while building country ownership. By using knowledge-and evidence-based practices, and focusing on monitoring and evaluation of the system, RHSS will help the Rwandan health system deliver higher quality services at a better value to the entire population. The project will help move the Rwandan health system toward independence from international donors by mobilizing domestic and private sector resources to expand financing for the health sector, while supporting more effective decentralization of health planning, management, and service delivery. Successful implementation of the project will result in strengthened and expanded performance of the Rwandan health system, resulting in improved health and well-being of Rwandans.

Rwanda has come so far in recent years—halving maternal and child mortality between 2005 and 2013 and increasing its citizens’ life expectancy by nearly a decade over the same time period. MSH is eager to see how our continued partnership will contribute to Rwanda’s continued success and growth.