|From the Field – Dispatches from Rwanda|
From 1990-1994, Rwanda’s Civil War, and then brutal Genocide, left a path of destruction that claimed an estimated one million lives. Many physicians and healthcare personnel were among those who perished, and Rwanda was left with only 100 physicians to serve the entire country in 1995. To help address this dire shortage and to build a sustainable healthcare and education system, Rwanda’s Ministry of Health, the Clinton Health Access Initiative, and a consortium of top U.S. medical schools including the Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine established the groundbreaking Human Resources for Health (HRH) program.
Launched in the summer of 2012, the seven-year HRH program is already improving the quality of education for Rwandan physicians, and will help greatly increase the number of doctors, nurses and midwives in Rwanda. In the program, faculty from Geisel and the other schools commit to long-term stays in Rwanda in order to teach learners at all levels and to partner with Rwandan physicians in creating a strong medical education system.
“The HRH program is there to help us provide a very good medical education to the health professionals. We have been really fortunate to be working with Dartmouth so that we can improve the quality of healthcare education,” added Nkurikiyimfura.
“The ambitious goal of this program is to build a medical education and health system in Rwanda that will be set the standard for the region,” says Adams. “The scope and potential is unprecedented. This is also a natural fit for our commitment to global health education and impact at Dartmouth and the work of our Center for Health Equity at the medical school.” The founder of this program, Honorable Dr. Agnes Binagwaho, Minister of Health in Rwanda, is a Geisel faculty member.
The collaboration with partners at the University of Rwanda expanded in 2014 to include bilateral medical student and resident exchanges in Internal Medicine, Gastroenterology and Radiology Departments.