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WHO figures on Rwanda outdated - officials

The Government has blamed the World Health Organisation for the delay in updating its health statistics database on the country. The concerns were raised during the ongoing high level meeting on the 2010-2011 Global Competitiveness report.
Corine Karema.
Corine Karema.

The Government has blamed the World Health Organisation for the delay in updating its health statistics database on the country.

The concerns were raised during the ongoing high level meeting on the 2010-2011 Global Competitiveness report.

Presenting findings of the report, the Senior Director and Lead Economist at the Centre for Global Competitiveness and Performance, World Economic Forum, Jennifer Blanke, pointed out that the health situation in Rwanda was still lagging behind.

“We derived our findings from the World Health Organisation but Rwanda has contested the figures saying they are outdated. Indeed, Rwanda may be right if WHO does not have recent figures,” Blanke said.

 “Rwanda should ensure that all concerned organisations are fed with updated figures frequently”.

Part of the misleading figures from WHO include those on malaria which indicate that cases reported per 100,000 are 34,352. However, the latest figures from the Ministry of Health as reported in the Health Management Information System (HMIS) specify that malaria cases are currently stand at 6,000/100,000.

Rwanda’s Demographic Health Survey also points out that Infant mortality rate stands at 50/1000 live births as of 2010, yet, the WHO data indicates this to be 70.2 /1000.

WHO figures also show that the average life expectancy in the country is 50.6, which strongly differs with data compiled by the National Institute of Statistics which indicates that life expectancy stands at 50.8 for men and 54.8 for women.

In an interview with The New Times, the Director General of Malaria Unit at Rwanda Biomedical Center, Dr Corine Karema, underlined that the Ministry of Health usually shares the latest data with all partners including WHO, in a transparent manner.

“People can have access to these figures anytime since we have a functioning Health Management Information System (HMIS) - one of the best in Africa. We are also conducting surveys to collect data in collaboration with NISR,” Dr. Karema said.

She added that national figures should not differ from those of WHO since the latter is in charge of technically supporting countries in this region.

Karema clearly pointed out that WHO does not conduct any survey or have parallel system to collect data within countries.

edwin.musoni@newtimes.co.rw

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