Kagame’s Rwanda Has 79 Pharmacists but Wants to Compete in the US$105 Billion Global Medical Tourism Market

General Paul Kagame calls health the currency of progress. He touts Rwanda’s healthcare as a successful model, shaming other countries for failing to prioritize the health of their people. Achieving universal health coverage is feasible for countries at every income level, says Kagame. So confident is he in Rwanda’s healthcare system that his government is preparing to complete in the US$105 billion global medical tourism market. Embarrassingly, the latest data from the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda shows that the country has 1,614 doctors, 286 dentists, and 11,083 nurses in a country of 13 million people. The biggest shock is the pharmacy field – Rwanda has 79 pharmacists and their numbers keep dropping. Welcome to Rwanda where wonders never cease.

By David Himbara

General Paul Kagame is categorical about the importance of healthcare not only in Rwanda but globally. For example, he declared in his keynote address at 71st World Health Assembly that “health is the currency of progress.” He went on to say that “achieving universal health coverage is feasible for countries at every income level” and that Rwanda had done so. Rwanda Development Board (RDB) says that Rwanda “is internationally recognized for its success in offering universal access to healthcare.” RDB adds that Rwanda “currently operates a well-functioning, decentralized healthcare public service system.”

It is on this basis that Rwanda seeks to compete in the US$105 billion global medical tourism that is expected to reach US$274 billion by 2027. The RDB Chief Executive Officer, Claire Akamanzi, has no doubt that Rwanda will do well in the global medical tourism because the country already attracts thousands from the region seeking healthcare services. As she puts it, “Thousands of people have been coming for treatment from different countries in the region.”

This is where fantasy clashes with reality. Rwanda’s healthcare barely exists per the Rwanda government’s own data, beginning with the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda’s 2022 Rwanda Statistical Year Book. This data shows the pretentiousness of the Kagame regime. With a population of 13 million people, Rwanda has 1,614 doctors, 286 dentists and 11,083 nurses. Most shocking is the number of pharmacists in Rwanda – they were 100 in 2019, dropping to 91 in 2020 and to 79 in 2021.

General Paul Kagame is a perfect case study of delusions of grandeur – and far from a visionary leader his Western backers label him. Vijayraj Kamatoffers a humorous description of a delusional leader:

“Have you had a delusional leader? Who is always right? Who calls the entire team in, starts story telling, conveying perspectives and decisions left, right and center with complete conviction. And everybody except him is wondering “Is he even in touch with reality?

Stay tuned.