Microsoft Billionaire and Founder Bill Gates has documented Rwanda’s health transformation in the last 24 years as ‘a miracle’.
On his blog, www.gatesnotes.com, Gates narrated the events that devastated Rwanda, the Genocide against Tutsi where medical doctors were killed, or others participated in the killings.
The country looked hopeless with no vaccination of children, epidemics like cholera followed in refugee camps, among other calamities.
“Today, Rwanda is a stunning global health success story—one I often cite when I’m asked about examples of health and development progress,” he said.
“More than 97 percent of infants are vaccinated. Rates of child mortality, maternal mortality, and deaths from tuberculosis, AIDS, and malaria have all plummeted. Its health system has become a model for other nations to follow.”
Gates, was most impressed by the system of trained community health workers in Rwanda, who “travel from home to home providing care.”
He also mentioned construction of rural health posts to expand access to medicines and health services, and a nationwide health insurance program-mutuelle de santé.
The latter covers around 90% of the entire population.
“At the heart of the government health care program is establishing trust between the government and the communities they serve,” Gates wrote in part.
“The health workers, for instance, were selected by the villages they served, so the people could decide who would care for them.”
For Gates, “while much more work needs to be done to continue to strengthen health care, Rwanda’s progress has been remarkable. That the country’s health system has managed to achieve so much progress on a limited budget compared to other poor countries is often called a “miracle.”
One of the people who drove this transformation, according to Bill Gates is Dr Agnes Binagwaho, once Minister of Health.
Binagwaho is currently vice chancellor of University of Global Health Equity – a university dedicated to educating health care professionals about how to improve health care among the world’s poorest people.
“Founded in 2015 by the nonprofit health care organization, Partners in Health, and funded in part by our foundation, the university seeks to radically change the way health care is delivered around the world,” Gates said.
Currently based in Kigali, the university is building a new campus in a rural community of Butaro in northern Rwanda, according to Gates.
“The remote setting will allow students to experience first-hand the challenges and opportunities of delivering health care in one of the country’s poorest regions,” he said.
“I look forward to the impact the university’s graduates will have on the future of global health as they help share the lessons of Rwanda’s success with the rest of the world.”