Efforts begin at the community level, where community health workers play a crucial role, and health posts are established to ensure access to fundamental healthcare services. The infrastructure has undergone extensive renovations and expansions, with the construction of new hospitals strategically located in areas with limited healthcare accessibility.
Rwanda currently boasts 1247 health posts and 512 health centers, accompanied by 40 district-level hospitals, four provincial-level hospitals, and eight referral hospitals. Notable additions include Gatonde in Gakenke District, Gatunda in Nyagatare, Minini in Nyaruguru, Nyabikenke in Muhanga, and Nyarugenge in Kigali City.
The government has invested approximately Rwf137.2 billion in the recent past to construct high-quality hospitals nationwide. This allocation addresses the shortage of healthcare professionals, a challenge expected to quadruple in the near future according to the Ministry of Health. Presently, there is one doctor per 1,000 patients, falling short of the ideal ratio of five doctors per 1,000 patients.
In 2023, Rwanda is witnessing significant strides in the field of medicine. A flagship project is Kigali Health City, located in Masaka, housing various initiatives aligned with Rwanda’s vision of becoming a hub for diverse medical services.
One noteworthy project within Kigali Health City is IRCAD Africa, a subsidiary of the French Institute for Research and Training in Human Surgical Technology. Focused on colorectal cancer research, this center aims to contribute to Rwanda’s goal of increasing annual graduates in medicine, nursing, and midwifery from 2,000 to 8,000. Plans also include the establishment of an international university in Masaka to nurture future medical professionals.
The African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation, supported by the African Development Bank, is set to be based in Rwanda, contributing to a $3 billion project. This initiative seeks to boost drug and vaccine production on the African continent, encourage research, and leverage technology for life-changing innovations.
Rwanda is also investing in medical capabilities to provide care for infants born at 20 weeks and is pioneering solutions for easy sight replacement for eye patients. A significant milestone was achieved in May with the successful completion of the country’s first kidney transplant at King Faisal Hospital.
On December 18, 2023, the inauguration of the first segment of the BioNTech vaccine manufacturing factory took place in Rwanda. President Kagame highlighted the factory’s origin as a response to the inequities faced by the African continent during the COVID-19 pandemic. The factory, situated in Masoro, Gasabo District, has been in development since June 2022.
Addressing a longstanding issue, reports indicate a rising prevalence of mental health problems in Rwanda, attributed to historical factors and daily life challenges. Caraes Ndera Hospital reported an increase in patient numbers, with more than 70% being young individuals grappling with issues related to drug use. In response, the Ministry of Health has launched campaigns against alcohol, particularly targeting the youth, emphasizing the critical role of individuals in safeguarding the well-being of the community.