Rwanda was one of the world’s poorest countries even before the 1994 genocide devastated the nation and its fragile health care system. In 2005, as part of its rebuilding, the Rwandan government asked Partners In Health to help strengthen the public health system in two underserved districts in the eastern province. Widespread poverty, limited access to care, and insufficient resources to address easily treatable diseases resulted in countless preventable deaths.

With Rwandan sister organization Inshuti Mu Buzima (Kinyarwanda for “Partners In Health”), PIH has brought high-quality health care to three rural districts that previously had some of the country’s worst health outcomes:

Burera District
• The 150-bed Butaro District Hospital, opened in January 2011, brings medical care to a district that didn’t have a functional hospital, and serves as a center for medical education for East Africa. The Butaro Cancer Center of Excellence, opened in July 2012, offers patients comprehensive cancer care.
• 15 health centers

Southern Kayonza District
• The 110-bed Rwinkwavu Hospital
• 8 health centers

Kirehe District
• The 120-bed Kirehe Hospital
• 15 health centers

Initially, PIH was a direct provider of health services in Rwanda; now, increased local and national capacity has allowed PIH to transition into a more advisory role. PIH now supports the Rwandan government in providing services to more than 865,000 people at three hospitals and 41 health centers, with the help of some 4,500 community health workers.

Today, Rwanda is seen as a model for how resource-poor countries can recover from traumatic events, and PIH is proud to be playing an ongoing role in this emerging global health success story.

By the numbers:

Total population: 10,942,950
Life expectancy at birth: 56 years
Child mortality: 76 per 1,000
Maternal mortality: 476 per 100,000 live births
Adult prevalence of HIV: 3%
Prevalence of TB: 565 per 100,000
Population living on less than $1 a day: 44.9%