On Thursday, 15 September 2011, the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) launched its “Mapping Progress: Rwanda” report in Kigali. The report represents the culmination of a research project on progress made in various areas of development that was undertaken across 24 countries. ODI identified Rwanda as a country that has made surprising progress in the Health Sector.
The ODI report’s central message that Rwanda “has defied the odds by delivering unexpected progress in health” by “rebuilding its health sector and delivery significant improvement to the health status of its population.” Rwandans have known this for years, and I would argue that our results are not so unexpected when one considers the strong leadership and unwavering commitment to health equity from His Excellency President Paul Kagame, our dedicated healthcare providers at all levels of the sector, and, of course, the Rwandan people.
The Ministry of Health is proud of how far our country’s health sector has come, but realizes that much work remains in assuring every Rwandan geographic and financial access to high-quality medical care. Please find below a press release about the event by ODI. The full report can also be downloaded for free at: http://bit.ly/pkXoJf.
Progress against the odds in Rwandan health
Rwanda has defied the odds by delivering unexpected progress in health according to a newly published global research project. The UK based Overseas Development Institute reports that following years of civil war and genocide, Rwanda has managed to rebuild its health system and deliver significant improvements to the health status of its population. Life expectancy in the country has doubled since the civil war, and today 60% of the population lives within 5km of a health centre. An effective partnership between donors and the Government, coupled with a community health insurance system covering the whole population, have been instrumental in delivering this progress.
So-called Surprise Performers such as Rwanda have delivered progress against the odds, often recovering from crisis and war or dealing with ongoing conflict, challenging political situations and highly inaccessible topography. The surprise elements of progress in these countries often lie in the speed of recovery, sometimes allowing them to surpass previous levels of development.
Dr Liesbet Steer of ODI said: “The performance of Rwanda is a reason to be optimistic about the country’s future. It’s time the world woke up to the change that is happening across the developing world and we believe this report provides the evidence needed to begin altering perceptions.
“We have identified four key drivers of progress but there is no one-size-fits-all solution to the conundrum of progress. What we can now say with clarity is that progress in development is not only possible, it is happening.
“Looking at the strongest examples across Africa we can see that the most transformative and sustainable developments have occurred when the commitment to change has come from within countries and communities.”