Rwanda’s health system has made major strides over the last decade, In 2013 the East African country’s health sector implemented a turnaround strategy, retaining 92 per cent of patients in HIV care, a wide disparity compared to 50 per cent in the United States.
Progress is evident in Uganda where the administration, through partnership, PATH, a leading innovator in global health was able to turn ideas into breakthrough health solutions, Sayana Press is a new development intended to increase contraceptive access and reach new users.
“The drug came about though a conference in UK and there was a summit trained in 2012 whereby the partners announced that they would be introducing this new innovation in developing countries and which they did in about 4 countries worldwide including Uganda, Burkina Faso, Senegal and Niger,” said Fiona Walugembe, Sayana Press Country Coordinator for PATH.
President of the Pfizer Foundation, Caroline Roan believes you can see the “rapid development” that has happened over the last two decades when you visit the country.
“When you move to Rwanda, you can see quite a different perspective and in the last 20 years you’ve seen rapid development in health, they are one of the few countries in East Africa that has universal healthcare coverage and I think if my memory services me, about 90 per cent of Rwandans have health insurance which is extraordinary and candidly quite better than the US,” she said.
“I think there is a big improvement from ’94 to now because in ’94, after the genocide, the government of Rwanda tried to rebuild the health sector,” said Dr. Theobald Hategekimana, Director General at CHUK, as this was when the government of Rwanda started to train specialists.
Another development is how the HIV prevalence rate among babies in Rwanda decreased – as well as other diseases.
“The HIV programme was a big success in the country, they maternal HIV transmission from mother to babies reduced with the new programme of the PMTCT (prevention of mother-to-child transmission) and what we have today is coming from the majority of babies were exposed, now we have like a maximum of 3 and 5,” said Dr. Lisine Tuyisenge, Secretary General of Rwanda Pediatric Association.
After the recent Demographic and Health survey Rwanda’s Minister of Health, Dr. Agnes Binagwaho, reaffirmed how the rate of HIV was decreasing.
“People dying from HIV are very few, the consequences we can have [sic] from that picture is that prevention works,” said the minister.