Rwanda is among the six countries that have achieved the recommendations of the 2006 Abuja Declaration of Head of States of African Union countries of allocating to health at least 15 per cent of their annual budget.
During the presentation of the progress report 2010-2012 on the implementation of the “Abuja call for accelerated action towards universal access to HIV/Aids, tuberculosis and malaria services,” presented by the African Union, Rwanda was mentioned among few countries that have achieved most of the targets.
The reports were heard at the special Summit of African Union on HIV/Aids, tuberculosis and malaria in Abuja, Nigeria, from July 12 to 14. The Summit drew ministers for health and foreign affairs.
Rwanda was represented by a delegation led by Louise Mushikiwabo, the minister for foreign affairs.
Rwanda met the 15 per cent benchmark alongside Zambia, South Africa, Botswana, Malawi, Niger and Burkina Faso.
As a result of allocating 15 per cent or more to the health budget alongside the help of other stakeholders, 91 per cent of Rwandans have access to HIV care and treatment.
HIV-related mortality rate has reduced by 78 per cent, while the retention of HIV positive individuals on treatment is above 90 per cent.
The transmission of HIV from mother to child has also declined from 10.8 per cent in 2004 to 1.9 per cent in 2012 while HIV new infections reduced by 50 per cent.
Dr Sabin Nsanzimana, the coordinator of HIV and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) Care and Treatment Department, told The New Times yesterday that in Rwanda everyone on Aids treatment has free access to ART’s.
“Rwanda spends Rwf2 billion on HIV/Aids drugs every year. More than 90 per cent of persons infected with HIV/Aids can now access ARTs that are available in almost all health facilities across the country,” he said.
Cases in Rwanda
The cost of anti-retroviral therapy varies from one patient to another although the average cost of therapy is Rwf12,000 per patient.
The TB mortality rate fell by 78 per cent between 1997 and 2010 with the prevalence, and incidence by 71 per cent.
The treatment success rate also increased between 2002 and 2005 and is now more than 85 per cent from 2006.
At least Rwf3 million is spent on each TB patient for the two years they are on medication. The fund per patient caters for medication, continuous tests, nutritional support and follow-up medical services, according to Dr Michel Gasana, the director of Tuberculosis Programme in the Ministry of Health.
Another area where Rwanda received a special mention is in the fight against malaria. In 2010, the rate of malaria cases treated after laboratory confirmation was 99 per cent in 2012.
Since then, Rwanda has continuously achieved over 90 per cent laboratory confirmation of malaria cases before treatment compared to 40 per cent in 2005.
In April 2001, heads of state of African Union countries pledged to allocate at least 15 per cent of their annual budget to improve the health sector.
At this summit, they discussed strategies of addressing the exceptional challenges of HIV/Aids, tuberculosis and other related infectious diseases.
According to the World Health Organisation, Rwanda and South Africa reached 15 per cent.
The African Union Commission reported that six AU member states met their 15 per cent benchmark with Rwanda (18.8 per cent), Botswana (17.8 per cent), Niger (17.8 per cent), Malawi (17.1 per cent), Zambia (16.4 per cent), and Burkina Faso (15.8 per cent).