Kagame government admitted that in rural Rwanda, one doctor serves between 25,000 to 60,000 people.

By David Himbara

Kagame government admitted that in rural Rwanda, one doctor serves between 25,000 to 60,000 people. In the entire country, there is only one pharmacist per 138,398 persons. These are horrible ratios of health professionals to the population.

The 2018 World Bank’s Human Capital Index (HCI) based on health and education indicators ranked Rwanda 142nd out of 157 countries. Rwanda is the worst HCI performer among the East African Community countries except for South Sudan.

Map showing doctor/population ratios in Rwanda | Source: Rwanda Ministry of Health

General Paul Kagame can’t dispute this. His own health ministry assessment of Rwanda’s health sector titled Rwanda Master Facility List, 2018, revealed a deplorable situation. Below are the highlights of Rwanda’s health sector assessment.

With a population of 12 million, Rwanda has 1,350 physicians, of whom 567 are specialists and 783 are general practitioners. There are 9,551 nurses in Rwanda, 1,207 midwives, 1,990 laboratory technicians, 292 anesthetists’ technicians, 87 pharmacists, and 228 dentists. There are 21,826 hospital beds and 247 ambulances in Rwanda. Health professionals/infrastructure and population ratios are as follows:

  1. One doctor per 8,919 people;
  2. One nurse per 1,261 people;
  3. One pharmacist per 138,398;
  4. One dentist per 52,810;
  5. One anesthetist per 41,235;
  6. One ambulance per 48,747 people;
  7. One health center per 23,847 people.
Map showing doctor/population ratios in Rwanda | Source: Rwanda Ministry of Health

Rwanda health ministry, however, warns that the vast majority of health professionals are concentrated in the capital city, Kigali. The rest of Rwanda reflects much worse health professionals-population ratios. As indicated on the map, in the case of doctors, physician/population ratios sharply rise to between 25,000 and 60,000 people per one doctor upcountry. The health ministry’s assessment further explains:

”7 districts (Karongi, Nyamasheke, Rusizi, Rubavu, Musanze, Rwamagana and Kayonza) have one doctor serving between 7,000-15,000 people. Districts such as Nyaruguru, Nyamagabe, Nyanza, Kirehe, Gatsibo, Nyagatare Nyabihu and Rutsiro still lag behind with 1 doctor for 25,000–60,000 people…There is relative concentration of doctors working in Kigali compared with districts in other regions…Kigali being the capital and likely, a preferred employment location and home to major referral hospitals, and majority of private health facilities attracts the majority of health workers.”

General Kagame says he has implemented one of Africa’s successful universal healthcare Systems. He should explain how 1 doctor per 25,000-60,000 in rural Rwanda, 1 pharmacist per 138,398, and 1 health center per 23,847 are signs of success. He should explain how 21,826 hospital beds and 247 ambulances can possibly serve a population of 12 million. Kagame, your own government and the World Bank have busted you — Rwanda’s universal healthcare is a big lie.

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