Innovations in Rwanda's health system: looking to the future

Lancet. 2008 Jul 19;372(9634):256-61. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(08)60962-9. Epub 2008 Jul 9.


Rwanda is making substantial progress towards improvement of health and is working towards achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, which is a challenging task because the country has had genocide in 1994, has few natural resources, is landlocked, and has high population growth. Like many impoverished sub-Saharan countries, Rwanda's health system has had an uncoordinated plethora of donors, shortage of health staff, inequity of access, and poor quality of care in health facilities. This report describes three health system developments introduced by the Rwandan government that are improving these barriers to care-ie, the coordination of donors and external aid with government policy, and monitoring the effectiveness of aid; a country-wide independent community health insurance scheme; and the introduction of a performance-based pay initiative. If these innovations are successful, they might be of interest to other sub-Saharan countries. However, Rwanda still does not have sufficient financial resources for health and will need additional external aid for some time to attain the Millennium Development Goals.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Allied Health Personnel / supply & distribution*
  • Allied Health Personnel / trends
  • Child Welfare / statistics & numerical data*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology
  • Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Services / supply & distribution
  • Health Services / trends*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Maternal Welfare / statistics & numerical data*
  • Poverty / prevention & control
  • Public Health / statistics & numerical data
  • Public Health / trends*
  • Rwanda / epidemiology