Drone technology brightens Rwanda health sector

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In the last two decades, Rwanda’s health sector has known tremendous improvements.

Major breakthroughs in medical technology have been achieved, community-based health care was enhanced, and people’s mindsets towards healthcare issues were significantly altered for the better.

Addressing the parliament early this month, Prime Minister Anastase Murekezi highlighted that improved service delivery and universal access to healthcare have contributed to bettering lives of Rwandans in different corners of the country.

World Bank reports indicate that in the last two and a half decades, Rwandans’ life expectancy has tripled from 28 in 1994, to 46 in 2000, to 66 by end 2015.

Recent years saw a significant increase in the number of health facilities. Today, the country counts 406 health posts, 499 health centres, 36 District Hospitals, and 7 Referral Hospitals.

Thanks to these developments, a majority number of diseases are addressed at community level.

Each village in Rwanda enjoys the service of three Community Health Workers who pay particular attention to communicable diseases, maternal and child healthcare, delivery of family planning services, and consultation/treatment of malnutrition.

Thus, maternal mortality rate has dropped from 1071 in 2000, to 476 in 2010, to 210 in 2015; and the proportion of infants born in hospitals has increased to 90 percent.

Last year, Rwanda launched the world’s first national drone delivery system.

The drone technology is intended to deliver life-saving blood to patients in remote areas of the country.

Rwanda’s Health Management Information System (Rwanda HMIS) and RapidSMS are also some of the technologies that are being used to ensure efficient service delivery in the health sector.

As one of Vision 2020 pillars, the current national policy on health is moving Rwanda towards equitable and efficient health service delivery.

Key facts on Rwanda’s Health Sector:

Rwanda is among a few countries that have already achieved the MDG 4 and 5

Community Based Health Insurance ‘Mutuelle de Sante’ coverage increased from 44% in 2005 to 81.6% in 2015

Infant mortality rate dropped from 152/1000 in 2000 to 32/1000 in 2015

Maternal Mortality ratio has dropped steadily from 476 per 100,000 live births in 2010 to 210 per 100,000 live births in 2015 reaching hence MDG 5

80% of Rwandan households have at least one insecticide-treated mosquito net

Rwanda has over 45,516 Community Health Workers (CHWs) treating different diseases in Community and following up on pregnant women

900,000 people were seen by CHWs in 2015

99% of women with a live birth receives at least one antenatal care from a skilled health provider

Vaccination Coverage averages 93% nationwide

Over 80% of HIV+ adults and children have access to antiretroviral therapy.