Rwanda's Bright Future

Building Human Resources for Health

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From 1990-1994, Rwanda’s Civil War, and then brutal Genocide, left a path of destruction that claimed more than one million lives.  Many physicians and health care personnel were among those who perished, and Rwanda was left with only 100 physicians to serve the entire country in 1995.   In this video, Jean-Luc Nkurikiyimfura, MD, explains how the groundbreaking Human Resources for Health (HRH) program and the partnership with the Dartmouth Geisel School of Medicine has helped improve the quality of education for Rwandan physicians, and will help greatly increase the number of doctors and nurses in Rwanda.

Nkurikiyimfura is head of the HIV Clinic at the Kigali University Teaching Hospital, and credits the seven-year HRH program and the Clinton Health Access Initiative for providing the tools and resources to accelerate the training of new physicians and other health care personnel. Nkurikiyimfura states that after the civil war, the lack of professors and health care professionals slowed the process of training new physicians.

The Clinton Health Access Initiative, along with Kigali University Teaching Hospital and seven U.S. medical schools—including Dartmouth—created the HRH program to help address the country's severe health care worker shortage by increasing the number of faculty available to train future physicians and health professionals.  In the program, faculty from Geisel and other U.S. medical schools commit to long-term stays in Rwanda in order to partner with Rwandan physicians in creating a strong medical education system.

“At the end of this HRH program, we expect to have more than 500 specialists in the country, which will be a very tremendous improvement and which will bring a very tremendous improvement in the quality of healthcare of the Rwandan population,” says Nkurikiyimfura. "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 University so that we can improve the quality of healthcare education.”

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