HealthcareTechnologyHealthCare Technology Development in Rwanda

Vanessa NyirabisaboFebruary 1, 2023107512 min
Source: borgen magazine

Rwanda’s health care system was disrupted in 1994 because of genocide against the Tutsi. Infrastructure was destroyed , equipment and lot of people died which destroyed the health care system in the country then.

Healthcare in Rwanda
Source: borgen magazine

This made Rwanda to become the world’s poorest country, with the world’s highest child mortality and lowest life expectancy at birth. In 1995 Rwanda’s government started reconstructing and building a strong health care system.

Rwanda’s life expectancy has doubled since 1995, while deaths from AIDS and tuberculosis have dropped steeply. Rwanda has become a global model for building strong health systems in resource-limited settings.

Healthcare services in Rwanda are given through the public sector, government-assisted health facilities, private health facilities, and traditional healers. The country currently operates a well-functioning, decentralized healthcare public service system comprising 1700 health posts, 500 health centers, 42 district hospitals, and five national referral hospitals.

Also has a vibrant private health services sector, which comprises of 2 general hospitals, two eye hospitals, 50 clinics and polyclinics, eight dental clinics, four eye clinics, and 134 dispensaries.

The government wants to make sure that every person can access health services that can be reached by foot in one or half hour and over 84% of Rwandans insured by the mutuelle de santé, Rwanda has ensured that her citizens have access to primary health care.

The use of technology has taken health care services in Rwanda to the next level like the use of technology to facilitate transportation of blood. The use of innovative technology, like drones for delivering blood quickly to those in need, has been a key factor in the success of the service.

Drones delivering blood to remote communities
Drones delivering blood to remote communities
Source: Quartz Africa

Technology has made a great impact and yielded great improvement in the health care sector which has led to enormous entry of many startsups to provide health services. Rwanda’s future in health will be driven by technology.

Technology has reduced geographical barriers and access to healthcare, diagnosis, and treatment have improved greatly while clinical research has set the trend for evidence-based health decisions.

Due to that, many people are getting employed and people can easily access healthcare services. This is has also influenced many young people to become entrepreneurs by coming up with projects that improve and facilitate our healthcare sector. Examples of high-tech healthcare include Harakameds and Babyl.

Harakameds is a Rwandan startup initiative created by a group of young pharmacists and information technologists with the aim of providing solutions in the healthcare sector through technology and Babyl believes it is possible to put an accessible and affordable health care service in the hands of every person on earth by combining the ever-growing computing power of machines with the best medical expertise of humans to create a comprehensive, immediate and personalized health service and making it universally available. These companies’ services will help promote healthcare services in Rwanda

The government of Rwanda has also been trying to help such startups and companies that will help improve the digital healthcare services in Rwanda. It has signed a partnership with Babylon Health (Babyl) that will help contribute to Rwanda’s National Strategy for Transformation, particularly ensuring access to quality health for all, and establishes Rwanda as a globally competitive knowledge-based economy by reinforcing partnerships to build skills with practical applications in health.”

Dr Daniel Ngamije, the minister of health said that “We are delighted to have this partnership with Babyl who will work alongside all our health institutions and RSSB to deliver this innovative digital healthcare service.

Increasing access to our doctors will help stop self-diagnosis and self-medication which lead to longer-term complications. With the reduced burden on health centres and other medical institutions, our medical professionals will be able to spend more time and resources on the most serious medical cases, further increasing the quality of healthcare delivery across the country.”

Rwandan Government officials and members from Babyl Rwanda after signing the contract
Rwandan Government officials and members from Babyl Rwanda after signing the contract

Due to Covid 19 pandemic, it showed that digital services were needed in the health sector so as to avoid its spread. That is why institutions like Norrsken were built to help healthtech startups to develop and help bring solutions to the table.

The Norrsken Foundation is a non-profit organization founded in 2016 by the co-founder of Klarna, Niklas Adalberth. Its mission is to help entrepreneurs solve the greatest challenges facing the world today.

Norrsken is non-religious and non-political — and has a strong belief in effective altruism.

“One of the world’s hardest and biggest problems is ensuring better health for the people of Africa in the face of staff shortages, budget constraints and the continuing threat from COVID-19,”

said Pascal Murasira, Managing Director at Norrsken East Africa.

“We believe that the healthtech start-ups we have selected for Norrsken House Kigali and the HealthTech Africa Hub have the potential to help solve some of these challenges” he added.

Norrsken East Africa
Norrsken East Africa

The government of Rwanda in partnership with other institutions like Norrsken are doing all they can to help develop and improve healthtech startups, to grow and help bring impactful solutions to the table.

Vanessa Nyirabisabo

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