American philanthropist Gates hails Rwanda health sector recovery

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American tycoon and philanthropist, Bill Gates has praised Rwanda’s health sector recovery journey after the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi saying that it is a stunning example globally.

Gates made the remarks in a note he shared Wednesday. He says that after the 1994 genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi, Rwanda’s economy and health system were in ruins.

He said that many of the country’s doctors and health workers had been killed or fled, fewer than one in four children were vaccinated, a cholera epidemic swept through refugee camps.

Gates said that Rwanda had the world’s highest child mortality rate and the shortest life expectancy and the country’s future seemed miserable.

However, the World’s second tycoon and philanthropist in health and welfare services says that the situation has changed to the extent Rwanda became global reference.

“Today, Rwanda is a stunning global health success story—one I often cite when I’m asked about examples of health and development progress. More than 97 percent of infants are vaccinated. Rates of child mortality, maternal mortality, and deaths from tuberculosis, AIDS, and malaria have all plummeted. Its health system has become a model for other nations to follow,” he said.

He said that many people contributed in making such dramatic turnaround possible from government leaders to health workers to the people of Rwanda themselves.

Among key contributors Gates mentioned include, former Minister of Health, Dr. Agnes Binagwaho.
“As a physician, leader of Rwanda’s HIV program, and later minister of health, Dr. Binagwaho has spent the last two decades playing a hands-on role rebuilding the country’s health care system,” he said.

“The transformation of Rwanda’s health system has its roots in a very simple, but powerful idea promoted by Dr. Binagwaho and the government of Rwanda. It’s the belief that health is a human right for all—no matter their income, ethnic group, or where they call home,” he noted.

While much more work needs to be done to continue to strengthen health care, Gates says that Rwanda’s progress has been remarkable that the country’s health system has managed to achieve so much progress on a limited budget compared to other poor countries is often called a “miracle.”

Gates supports different health services programmes in Rwanda through his Foundation ‘Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’.

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