(The Atlantic) - Amidst the barrage of stories about failing states and civil wars that characterize the dour American media coverage of the developing world, the reinvention of Rwanda offers hope. Since the genocide with which its name is still synonymous in the United States, Rwanda has doubled its life expectancy and now offers a replicable model for delivery of high quality health care with limited resources.
Dr. Paul Farmer, Chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School and co-founder of Partners In Health, says that, "Rwanda has shown on a national level that you can break the cycle of poverty and disease."
**Rwanda retains 92 percent of patients in HIV care -- compared to 50 percent in the U.S**.
In the wake of the genocide that killed nearly one million people in 1994, such a turnaround seemed nearly impossible. Rwanda was a failed state mired in poverty and chaos.
(New York Times) - In the less than two decades since the 1994 genocide that killed nearly a million Rwandans and displaced another two million, the country has become a spectacular public health success story and could provide a model for the rest of Africa, according to a new analysis by American health experts.
In an article published last month by the British journal BMJ, Dr. Paul E. Farmer, a founder of Partners in Health, which delivers medical services in Rwanda and Haiti, totaled up the successes the tiny country has managed. In 1994, 78 percent of the population lived below the poverty line; now 45 percent do. The gross domestic product has more than trebled.
The New Times - The government has urged local leaders to embark on a rigorious campaign to sensitise residents on the need to pay their health insurance cover.
The minister of Local Government James Musoni and his Health couterpart Dr Agnes Binagwaho, made the remarks during a meeting convened in Kigali yesterday to discuss health sector programmes.
The call comes amid reports that 38 percent of Rwandans are yet to pay for this year's community medical insurance commonly known as Mutuelle de Santé.
"Every Rwandan should have health insurance cover.
(New Times) - Rwanda was this week recognised as one of the nine countries in Africa and Asia making significant progress to make universal healthcare systems possible. The details are in a new study published in the US-based scientific journal, The Lancet.
Other countries recognized included Ghana, Nigeria, Mali, India, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam. Rwanda has continued to make progress by extending healthcare to all members of society especially the poor.
Recent statistics show the heath sector has managed to roll-out a universal health care system -Mutuelle de Santé - that benefits every Rwandan.
(AllAfrica.com) - Recently, I read in The New Times that the Rwandan health sector is ranked top in East Africa. This is not because the country has the most brilliant health professionals in the region but its strong health insurance coverage makes its health sector stand out.
Lack of insurance is a fiscal burden to families. People without health insurance do not benefit from the discounted medical prices that are routinely negotiated through private health plans or provided through public programmes.
In Rwanda, we have Mutuelle du Sante, RAMA, the Military Medical Insurance (MMI), Medi-plan, among other health insurance covers.
Most importantly is that most of the health insurance services are offered by the government to cover medical services for its citizensm mostly the vulnerable.
(Voice of America) - Rwanda will host a regional conference next week (9-11/13), with a focus on health insurance. Rwanda has been praised for moving toward universal coverage for its population. But many say it’s a complicated issue that does not have a one-size-fits-all solution.
The Conference on Social Health Protection in the East African Community will consider various approaches to providing universal health coverage in Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Burundi.
Universal coverage is the subject of a new study that reviewed health systems in 12 African and Asian countries.
The World Health Organization’s Joe Kutzin says universal coverage is more of a “direction than a destination.”
“What it means you want to move towards universal coverage, which means you want to improve access. You want to improve financial protection and you want to improve quality. And in that sense, those are goals for every country in the world.
PloS ONE: Mutuelles is a community-based health insurance program, established since 1999 by the Government of Rwanda as a key component of the national health strategy on providing universal health care. The objective of the study was to evaluate the impact of Mutuelles on achieving universal coverage of medical services and financial risk protection in its first eight years of implementation.
Methods and Findings
We conducted a quantitative impact evaluation of Mutuelles between 2000 and 2008 using nationally-representative surveys. At the national and provincial levels, we traced the evolution of Mutuelles coverage and its impact on child and maternal care coverage from 2000 to 2008, as well as household catastrophic health payments from 2000 to 2006. At the individual level, we investigated the impact of Mutuelles' coverage on enrollees' medical care utilization using logistic regression.
AllAfrica: The visiting WHO Regional Director for Africa Dr. Luis Gomes Sambo has commended Rwanda for adopting an innovative approach in designing and implementing health care programs that have delivered good results for the country.
Dr. Sambo is visiting Rwanda to learn more about Rwanda's programs and assess progress on the ground with the view of sharing some success stories with the rest of the continent.
"You are moving in the right direction and you are moving quite fast," Dr. Luis Gomes Sambo said while meeting the Minister of Health Dr. Agnes Binagwaho this morning.
All Africa: Most workers in small and medium enterprises remain without insurance against occupational hazards despite the existence of a law that makes it mandatory for employers to insure all employees against such risks.
"They paid for the first medical treatment, but none of my employers could even answer a call a week later when I was supposed to go back to hospital to complete plastering my broken arm," says an employee with a local private company that collects garbage.
He suffered the injury while at work a few weeks ago.
New York Times: The maternity ward in the Mayange district health center is nothing fancy.
It has no running water, and the delivery room is little more than a pair of padded benches with stirrups. But the blue paint on the walls is fairly fresh, and the labor room beds have mosquito nets.
Inside, three generations of the Yankulije family are relaxing on one bed: Rachel, 53, her daughter Chantal Mujawimana, 22, and Chantal’s baby boy, too recently arrived in this world to have a name yet.
The little prince is the first in his line to be delivered in a clinic rather than on the floor of a mud hut. But he is not the first with health insurance.