The leading causes of death in Rwanda, as in many African countries, are HIV/AIDS and TB. Estimates vary widely, but most believe that between 8 and 13 percent of Rwanda's population is infected with HIV. Rwanda has among the highest rates of TB in Africa. Malaria is a major cause of death, and maternal mortality rates are high. The shortage of medical personnel is acute. Exacerbating the situation is the country's history of political and social unrest, which culminated in the 1994 genocide.
In 2005, DGHE faculty and Partners In Health launched their first project in Africa. The Rwanda project, called Inshuti Mu Buzima (IMB, or Partners In Health in Kinyarwanda), is the result of an innovative partnership including the Rwandan Ministry of Health; the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria; and the Clinton HIV/AIDS Initiative. Together, IMB and its partners have undertaken a commitment to scale up HIV treatment and care in rural Rwanda; to provide a wide range of other health and support services; to strengthen the country’s national training and evaluation programs; and to develop, document, and disseminate a rural care model that can be adapted and replicated throughout Rwanda and other African countries.
IMB works to implement direct service delivery in three rural districts in Rwanda. The project began within two districts in the Eastern Province, and in 2007 expanded to a district in the Northern Province. To date, DGHE faculty and PIH have opened three district hospitals, most recently the 150-bed Butaro Hospital in the North, which opened in January 2011. A flagship hospital for Rwanda, and indeed for the entire east Africa region, this facility features three operating theaters, innovative measures for infection control and patient flow, and comprehensive hospital care alongside specialty services. In addition to hospital work, PIH and DGHE faculty support community health workers and 36 health centers, which make the health systems accessible to the districts’ catchment area of 800,000 people. Through expert training made possible by strong partnerships, new programs to manage chronic diseases including asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, and heart disease are now in place at each site. With a recent grant from the Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation, the sites have begun focusing on cancer treatment as well, with an aim to establish Butaro as a center of excellence for pediatric cancer care. In addition, with funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, DGHE faculty and PIH are working with the Rwandan government to strengthen and study community-based primary healthcare services in rural Rwanda.
In Rwanda, visionary doctor is moving mountains again
4/13/08 - The Boston Globe writes of PIH's work in Rwanda.
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This page was last modified on 3/8/2013