Two decades after the 1994 genocide in Rwanda - when 1 million Rwandans were killed and another 2 million were displaced, the country has become an incredible health success story according to an analysis by American Health Experts.
Dr. Paul E. Famer, a founder member of Partners of Health - published an article about the current health scene in Rwanda. In 1994, 78% of the population was below poverty line and presently it has 45% below poverty line. Almost 99% of primary school age children attend school.
AdvertisementThe number of people treated for AIDS is 108,000 from zero, ten years back. Many doctors had died in the 1994 genocide and many more had fled the country, so now there are only 625 doctors in public hospitals to care for a population of above 11 million. Though there are 8,000 nurses and 45,000 health care workers, to take care of malaria, pneumonia, diarrhea, and family planning prenatal care and childhood vaccines.
Western donors help with all this. Due to health care workers - elected by the state, the country has had success in curing tuberculosis and treating AIDS patients with antiretroviral drugs. 98% of Rwandans have health insurance, as annual premiums are small - they are subsidized by donors. Mosquito nets and immunizations are free.
The country has built a national system of computerized records and gets reports from villages by cell phone messages. The maternal mortality rate has decreased by 60% since 2000 and infant deaths have reduced by 70%. "If these gains can be sustained," Dr. Farmer wrote, "Rwanda will be the only country in the region on track to meet each of the health-related Millennium Development Goals by 2015."
Though Foreign aid does help, the national government focused on the cause of disease and went all out to eliminate it.
Hannah Punitha (IRDA Licence Number: 2710062)
Donald McNeil Jr., Feb