Investigating GHI in Rwanda


Yves Twemerimana, 3, wears an oxygen mask in a bed at the Kigali Central University Hospital in Kigali, as he is tended to for a severe case of pneumonia.


Helen Vesperini

I'm currently traveling to Kigali with cameraman Geoffrey Mulongo as part of GlobalPost's series on the Obama Administration's Global Health Initiative.

When President Obama announced GHI in 2009 it was envisioned as $63 billion project implemented over six years. It would be an expansion of all U.S. funding for global health. Now, given the U.S.'s budget woes, it seems unlikely to hit its target amount. My intent is to get an “on the ground” look at GHI's progress in Rwanda.

According to USAID's Health & Social Welfare Promotion Officer in Rwanda, healthcare in the nation “still has a way to go.” 

Rwanda ranks 161st out of 177 on the Human Development Index as a least developed nation.  It is the most densely populated country in sub-Saharan Africa, and 60% of Rwandans live below the poverty line.  90% of Rwandans are at risk of malaria, which is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in Rwanda, according to the World Health Organization. I will be investigating what GHI has done to decrease the burden of malaria there.

According to the GHI Team in Kigali, gender-equality is a central pillar of the country’s GHI strategy and a common goal of all US government-supported health projects.

They believe that supporting these efforts is essential to the success of national health programs and all development activities in Rwanda.  This kind of focus will be among the first of its kind in Rwanda, and I am interested to see how GHI is implementing their gender-equality strategy.

My next step is to meet with GHI officials in Rwanda. I'll be filing about Rwanda's healthcare in the days ahead. Please tune in and give us your comments.