REPUBLIC OF RWANDA
MINISTRY OF HEALTH
Minister Binagwaho Meets with US Secretary of Health and Human Services
WASHINGTON D.C. – Minister of Health Agnes Binagwaho yesterday met with the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius where both leaders shared lessons from health reform efforts in Rwanda and the United States. Secretary Sebelius applauded Rwanda’s progress made in the health-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Honorable Binagwaho highlighted the key drivers of the progress made in Rwanda citing that Rwanda’s success story has been the result of many different strategies pursued simultaneously, including the strong commitment of national and local leaders, the rapid scale-up of proven technological and policy innovations, structures to ensure accountability at all levels of the health sector, and a relentless focus on equity.
Secretary Sebelius explained that President Obama’s administration was increasing access to subsidized preventive services, based on a similar spirit to the preventive care package that is currently provided in Rwanda by RAMA to which Minister Binagwaho responded by explaining that the package will be provided through mutuelles de santé in the future.
Finally, Secretary Sebelius and Minister Binagwaho exchanged ideas on areas for new collaborations between the United States global health programs and the Ministry of Health of Rwanda. Together, they identified collaborative studies of the burden of chronic non-communicable diseases (such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, lung disease, and mental illness) for better prevention and treatment as a top priority. There is currently little reliable evidence on these conditions in Rwanda and in the region, so this new research will be essential to the Ministry of Health’s efforts to prevent and treat these conditions.
The meeting between the two officials occurred in the context of the nineteenth International AIDS Conference this week. A large Rwandan delegation of Ministry policymakers, researchers and civil society members traveled to Washington DC for this conference to share Rwanda’s experience in the fight against HIV/AIDS and to take lessons from other countries around the world.
During the conference, the World Bank President, Dr. Jim Yong Kim urged the world to take lessons from Rwanda’s success in integrating HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and treatment with broader anti-poverty mechanisms. “From being an exception, [Rwanda’s] approach can become the rule,” Kim said. “This will be a leap forward in our capacity to build systems and deliver results.”
Minister Binagwaho also participated on various panels including the one on which the Deputy President of South Africa as well as the Director General of the World Health Organization, Margaret Chan and the US Global AIDS Coordinator, Ambassador Eric Goosby among others participated.
The Honorable Minister also met with several officials in the US government to discuss Rwanda’s Human Resources for Health Program(HRH) and key considerations for the next set of global development goals after the end of the MDGs in 2015.