“The next generation of global solidarity must be more strategic, more efficient, and more country-driven. The dialogue begun many years ago, globally recognized at the United Nations High-Level Meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases, and carried on in these pages is a wonderful start, but we have much work to do in creating a future in which the greatest risk factor for dying of a non-communicable disease is not where one is born.” Hon. Minister Agnes Binagwaho, Minister of Health, Government of Rwanda
Meeting the Challenge of NCD: We Cannot Wait, Global Heart (2012)
The story of NCDs and injuries in Rwanda
Rwanda is a country of 11 million people in East Africa that has achieved impressive health gains in the past two decades. Compared to 1990 figures (pre-genocide), the life expectancy has nearly doubled, and HIV / AIDS, tuberculosis, maternal and under 5 mortality rates have dropped by two-thirds.
Health leaders in Rwanda are global champions for extending Rwanda’s overall health system successes to the realm of NCDs and injuries. All Rwandans have access to universal health coverage, provided by a trained workforce of over 45,000 community health workers, 8,500 nurses, and 600 physicians. The NCD Unit has successfully implemented several national programs targeting NCDs and injuries, spanning screening, referral and treatment.
Effective treatment for NCDs must be provided at the community and district levels, and must respond to the double burden of NCDs and poverty faced by many patients. Data, including preliminary review of the 2013 STEPS survey, illustrates that prevalence of lifestyle risk factors may not explain the total burden of NCDs in Rwanda. Thus draft Rwandan NCD strategies recognize the need to make treatment for dozens of NCDs available to all populations – including the poorest and hardest to reach.
NCD Synergies partnership
In July 2013, the Rwanda Ministry of Health hosted the inaugural NCD Synergies conference in Kigali, Rwanda, which officially launched the NCD Synergies Network. At the 2013 NCD Synergies Conference in Kigali, Rwanda, more than 170 health officials from 18 ministries of health and numerous partner organizations discussed how to expand access to treatment for NCDs to all people in low-income countries, including the very poor. The conference served as a platform to share experience across countries related to NCD strategic planning, implementation, and advocacy.
Building off of years of collaboration between the Rwanda Ministry of Health and Partners In Health, NCD Synergies has hired a Senior Management Consultant to support the NCD Division at Rwanda Biomedical Center in strategic and operational planning work. The Consultant works directly within NCD Division to support the expansion of treatment for NCDs and injuries in Rwanda.
Priorities of the partnership include:
- Finalization of an interim integrated national strategic plan for NCDs covering cancers, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and metabolic conditions, injuries and disabilities, and respiratory conditions
- Development of a national expansion calendar and accompanying implementation plan for scale-up of treatment of NCDs and injuries to all districts in Rwanda