Contact: Jeff Marvin, Media Relations

RWINKWAVU, RWANDA, (June 20, 2013)—More than 40 faculty and students from Rwanda and the United States gathered in Rwinkwavu, Kayonza District, on June 18 to launch the second offering of the Harvard-Rwanda Global Health Delivery Field Course, led by Harvard faculty in conjunction with the Ministry of Health (MOH) of Rwanda and Partners In Health/Inshuti Mu Buzima (PIH/IMB). The MOH made the Rwinkwavu Center for Training and Operational Research at Rwinkwavu Hospital available for the course, which for four days has become a Harvard campus.

Building on the longstanding partnership between the MOH and Harvard, this offering of the Harvard-Rwanda Global Health Delivery Field Course is a leadership course for health managers and implementers that lays the foundation for excellence in health service delivery.

“The Global Health Delivery Field Course is a wonderful framework to improve our knowledge by learning from examples from around the world so that we can improve service delivery and deliver more value for money for the people of Rwanda,” says Honorable Minister Agnes Binagwaho.

“Rwanda is a theater of something extraordinary,” said Dr. Paul Farmer, co-founder of PIH and chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, during his opening remarks. “This is a country that can teach a lot to other settings in the world, including the United States. Everything you see here has been done through collaboration and taking on problems.”

The overarching aim of the Harvard-Rwanda Global Health Delivery Field Course is to empower a new generation of providers, policymakers, and thought leaders from around the world to bridge the gap between knowledge and practice in global health. In this rigorous and stimulating course, participants:

  • Learn directly from Rwandan policymakers leading innovative efforts to increase access to healthcare and quality while decreasing costs.
  • Analyze case studies that detail the design, operations, and outcomes of projects to improve healthcare delivery in resource-poor settings.
  • Engage in deep discussions about how epidemiology, culture, economics, and politics inform the design and performance of global public health programs.
  • Evaluate the role of strategic analysis and the use of frameworks, such as care delivery value chain analysis, in solving delivery challenges.

Drawing on Rwanda’s unique experiences and a variety of international case studies (from Rwanda, Haiti, Botswana, Zambia, and elsewhere), the course utilizes an inter-disciplinary framework to address both the global burden of disease and the complexity of its inter-related social determinants.

“This is a very different kind of class. It’s about working together and taking on problems," said Dr. Farmer. “I’ve learned a lot more reading these cases and teaching this class than I have in a long, long time.”

This is the second offering of the course, and it will be offered regularly, with the goal to enroll all central level leaders in the Ministry of Health, as well as program managers and students from around the world. New case studies will be developed in the coming years to disseminate innovations in Rwanda’s health sector and cultivate Rwandan leaders in the emerging discipline of global health delivery.

The Honorable Minister Dr. Binagwaho is currently senior lecturer in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School and will lead as a member of the faculty for the GHD Course. Dr. Farmer is co-founder of Partners In Health, Kolokotrones University Professor and the chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School. The Honorable Minister and Dr. Farmer have been collaborating on behalf of their institutions for over a decade.

The Harvard-affiliated non-governmental organization Partners In Health/Inshuti Mu Buzima is providing logistical support and funding for this version of the course.