Improving Health Services in Rural Rwanda


Rwanda’s population of 9.9 million was the most densely concentrated in Africa in 2005.  Maternal mortality rates were among the highest in the world. Malaria and other infectious diseases were leading causes of death which left their mark on adults and children. Malnutrition was rife and HIV/AIDS has reached epidemic levels particularly among women and young people.

Twubakane, the Kinyarwanda word meaning “Let’s build together,” united many partners—the Government of Rwanda, USAID, nongovernmental organizations, health workers, and grassroots communities. The US NGO, Intrahealth was the lead organisation. Launched in 2005, the Twubakane Decentralization and Health Program supported the Government of Rwanda to improve integrated service delivery in hospitals, health centers, and communities by strengthening the capacity of local governments, health facilities, and communities to provide, plan for, and manage high-quality services.

The project aimed to improve the quality of health services in Rwanda and increase access to health services.The  project distributed 180 of our Lifeline radios in 2006 to women and children in rural communities in Kigali Ville, Kibungo, Gitarama and Gikongoro to foster positive behaviour and stimulate dialogue between couples and between communities and health centres on family planning reproductive health, malaria, nutrition, improving child survival and HIV/AIDS.  Most of the recipients of the radios were subsistence farmers.