In the last two decades, Rwanda’s health sector has known tremendous improvements. Major breakthroughs in medical technology have been achieved, community-based health care was enhanced, and people’s mindsets towards healthcare issues were significantly altered for the better.
Addressing the parliament early this month, Prime Minister Anastase Murekezi highlighted that improved service delivery and universal access to healthcare have contributed to bettering lives of Rwandans in different corners of the country.
World Bank reports indicate that in the last two and a half decades, Rwandans’ life expectancy has tripled from 28 in 1994(decline from 33.48 in 1990 due to civil war), 46 in 2000, to 66 by end 2015.
Recent years saw a significant increase in the number of health facilities. Today, the country counts 406 health posts, 499 health centres, 36 District Hospitals, and 7 Referral Hospitals. Thanks to these developments, a majority number of diseases are addressed at community level.
Each village in Rwanda enjoys the service of three Community Health Workers who pay particular attention to communicable diseases, maternal and child healthcare, delivery of family planning services, and consultation/treatment of malnutrition.
Thus, maternal mortality rate has dropped from 1071 in 2000, to 476 in 2010, to 210 in 2015; and the proportion of infants born in hospitals has increased to 90 percent.
Last year, Rwanda launched the world’s first national drone delivery system. The drone technology is intended to deliver life-saving blood to patients in remote areas of the country. Rwanda’s Health Management Information System (Rwanda HMIS) and RapidSMS are also some of the technologies that are being used to ensure efficient service delivery in the health sector.
As one of Vision 2020 pillars, the current national policy on health is moving Rwanda towards equitable and efficient health service delivery.
Key facts on Rwanda’s Health Sector:
However, while PM was presenting in parliament, he was asked why many households do not possess latrines, and he vowed this achievement by July this year.
Besides, Mituelle de Santé holders claim not being provided with drugs, but oriented to private pharmacies, while Auditor General always reports on expired drugs in central stores at CAMERWA, due to tough bureaucracy.
Furthermore, the management of hospitals is still poor, as embezzlement has bees alleged to many staff, such as Gahini, Kibirizi, Kabutare, Musanze, etc.
Some medical institutions have created cells to keep unsolvable patients, like at Muhima hospital and Nyagatare.
And last, malnutrition has declined, but in 15 over 30 districts, stunting children under five years are above average of 38% countrywide.
According to NIRS/ RDHS 5, these districts include Nyabihu(59%), Ngororero(56%), Karongi(49%), Rubavu and Rutsiro(46%) of Western province. In Northern Province, Gakenke(46%)and Burera(43%). In South, Nyamagabe(52%), Huye(43%) Nyaruguru& Muhanga (42)and Ruhango(41%). Eastern province, Kayonza(42%), Ngoma(41)and Bugesera(39%).
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Jean Baptiste Karegeya
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