Left to right: Lisa Godwin, USAID Rwanda Health Office Director, Dr. Diane Gashumba, Rwanda's Minister of Health, Alain Joyal, RHSS Project Director, Management Sciences for Health.Photo credit: MSH Rwanda
Over the past five years, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has invested in measures to strengthen and sustain Rwanda’s health sector through its Rwanda Health Systems Strengthening (RHSS) Project (2014-2019).
In a ceremony at the Kigali Serena Hotel, USAID, the Ministry of Health (MoH), as well as the implementing partner, Management Sciences for Health (MSH), marked the culmination and remarkable achievements of the five-year effort to strengthen the country’s health sector.
Raissa Iradukunda and her two children live near Remera-Rukoma District Hospital, about one hour from Kigali, Rwanda. The family is covered under Rwanda’s community-based health insurance (CBHI) program, known locally as Mutuelle de Santé.
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 five hospitals in surrounding districts. In 2015 alone, the hospital had nearly 6,000 monthly outpatient visits—about 25% above previous levels and among the highest in the country. While these numbers indicate how important the status upgrade was in relation to local health needs, the facility struggled to consistently meet those needs.
Linda* arrived at Kibagabaga Hospital exhausted and desperate. Referred by a smaller health center, she had already been in labor for more than 24 hours. A midwife admitted Linda and put her on an IV. There, she waited for several hours until an obstetrician examined her. Realizing that the baby had an accelerated heartbeat, which is a sign of distress, the doctor ordered a Cesarean section (C-section). When the baby emerged, he was not responsive. Hospital staff worked to help him breathe and eventually, he let out a wail.
Beatrice Uzamukunda visits with a nurse in Rwamagana Hospital.Photo credit: Irene Nambi, MSH
By Irene Nambi
On an early morning at Rwamagana Hospital in Rwanda’s Eastern Province, patients began to fill the busy outpatient department. As health workers started receiving patients, Beatrice Uzamukunda rushed in with her daughter, Esther. “My baby was very ill with a very high temperature. I was so worried that I had almost lost hope as we approached the facility,” says Beatrice.
By Alanna Savage
Mist had settled over the morning. I was visiting with staff at Remera-Rukoma District Hospital in the Southern Province of Rwanda. Founded in 1927, the 177-bed hospital serves a population of more than 376,000 and receives patients referred by 11 surrounding health centers.