Rwanda delivered tremendously in the health sector by doubling life expectancy of its citizens since the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, and ensuring that over 60 percent of its population are within five kilometres of a health centre.
This was highlighted in a report by the British Overseas Development Institute (ODI).
ODI is a UK-based independent institute that reports on international development and humanitarian issues across the world.
The report, “Mapping Progress: evidence for a new development outlook” states that ‘surprise performers’ such as Rwanda delivered progress against all odds, often recovering from crisis and highly inaccessible topography to surpass various levels of development.
“The report identifies the crucial role of effective leadership, smart policies, proper institutional foundations and international partnerships in driving development,” a statement from ODI reads.
The Senior Research Associate at ODI, Liesbet Steer, said that Rwanda’s performance indicates optimism about the country’s future.
“We have identified four key drivers of progress but there is no one-size-fits-all solution to the conundrum of progress,” she told health officials yesterday during the report’s launch in Kigali.
“What we can say now with clarity is that progress in development is not only possible, it is happening.”
Uzziel Ndagijimana, the Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Health (MoH), said that over 80 percent of health cases in the country are treated at community level, saving people from travelling long distances to main hospitals in Kigali.
“The government prioritised economic growth and poverty reduction in the last decade by embarking on progressive reforms which helped Rwanda to combat negative effects of this ever-changing globalised world,” he said.
Statistics from MoH show that maternal mortality rates fell dramatically from 1,071 to 383 per 100,000 within a period of eight years, from 2000 to 2008.
They also show that 86 in 1,000 infants died in 2005, but the number reduced to 50 deaths in 2010, which indicates steady progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goal of only 28 deaths per 1,000 infants in 2015.
The health sector’s share of government’s total expenditure almost doubled from 7.9 per cent in 1995 to 16.8 per cent in 2009.