The PBS NewsHour featured Partners In Health’s work to save lives in Rwanda in partnership with the government on its “Agents for Change” series this week.

Special correspondent Fred de Sam Lazaro visited Rwanda to cover the country’s staggering gains in health equity since the genocide 20 years ago. Life expectancy has doubled since then, and a million people have risen out of poverty.

The segment includes interviews with Dr. Agnes Binagwaho, Rwanda’s Minister of Health, as well as Dr. Peter Drobac, executive director of PIH Rwanda, and Emmanuel Kamanzi, Rwanda program officer.

The NewsHour piece highlights the role of community health workers in providing health care access to all people, especially poor Rwandans living in rural areas. It also takes viewers to PIH-supported Butaro Hospital, in rural northern Rwanda.

“While we were building (in Butaro), people couldn’t believe this was their hospital. They thought, ‘This is a resort coming up for the expats, for muzungu’ (white people),” Kamanzi said. “But we said, ‘Look, this is your hospital. This is what you deserve.’”

The PBS correspondent describes the work of the Butaro Cancer Center of Excellence, opened in 2012 by the Ministry of Health and PIH, as an example of the equity-based approach Rwanda has taken to expand access to comprehensive care for all Rwandans.

“The new life for cancer patients here might be a metaphor for post-genocide Rwanda, resurgent after a near-death experience with a long journey ahead,” de Sam Lazaro says.

Learn more about PIH’s work in Rwanda.

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