Newly- opened University of Global Health Equity (UGHE) Rwanda is expected to integrate development strategies into the health sector.
Owned by Partners In Health (PIH), an international non-profit organisation, the university was officially inaugurated at a function in Kigali on Saturday with 26 students admitted for the inaugural master of science in global health delivery (MGHD) degree.
Over 160 students had applied to join the new higher learning institution.
The university is rooted in the principles of health equity, incorporating the latest advances in education technology, according to officials.
It will offer a two-year, part-time MGHD programme.
Speaking at the inaugural ceremony, the Minister for Health, Dr Agnes Binagwaho, who is also one of the senior lecturers at the university, said she was passionate about integrating development into the health sector.
“I am grateful that the term health equity is being used and applied which is a big step towards the development of the health sector in the country,” she said.
The university also intends to promote leadership, management and financial skills among students.
“The master of science in global health delivery programme will provide a one-of-a-kind learning experience fundamentally rooted in the principles of global health, epidemiology, global health policy, management, finance and leadership,” she added.
Dr Papias Malimba Musafiri, the Minister for Education, said he is optimistic the university will contribute towards the achievement of the country’s Vision 2020 in building science, technology and innovation.
“To unlock the continent’s potential, Africa must have well-trained science and technology professionals.
Leveraging opportunities in science and technology contributes to the building of capacities across sectors such as health, agriculture, trade and industry, infrastructure, environment and ICT, all of which are key to development,” he said.
Dr Paul Farmer, a co-founder of Partners In Health and one of the university’s lecturers, said it will take the institution a few years to become a world class university.
“Harvard University is one of the best universities in the world, but it took it 300 years to become the best. Given the level of development and resources that Rwanda has, I believe that we will live to see this university compete with the best universities in the world,” he said.
The private university is owned and operated by Partners In Health, and is supported by the Government of Rwanda, Harvard Medical School and several international experts.
Students will be taught by global health experts and will hold evening classes on Wednesdays and over the weekend. The schedule is meant to be friendly to working students.
Tuition fees for the MGHD will be $15,000 ($7,500 per year).
The first of two permanent UGHE campuses are under development in Butaro, Northern Province, according to officials.