A Victory for Rwanda

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

In the fall of 1994, nearly a million people died in the Rwandan genocide when Hutu extremists massacred minority Tutsis. Those on both sides who survived the killings faced a second threat: a scourge of infectious diseases, including AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and waterborne illness — less than 5 percent of the population had access to clean water.

Almost 20 years later, striking achievements in health care and health outcomes in Rwanda have set the country apart and made it a model for other poor African countries. Since the genocide, life expectancy in Rwanda has nearly doubled, from 28 years to 56. The country’s gross domestic product has tripled in the last decade and more than a million Rwandans escaped poverty between 2005 and 2010 alone.

Paul Farmer, a medical anthropologist, physician and thought leader in the global health sphere, says Rwanda is the only country in sub-Saharan Africa that could meet a majority of the Millennial Development Goals in 2015 — eight measurable objectives related to poverty, health and education crafted by the United Nations in 2000.

Source: U.S. News (link opens in a new window)

Health Care
infectious diseases