The United States’ office of the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Rwandan Government are exchanging ideas on areas of new collaboration and especially on studies of the burden of chronic non-communicable diseases (such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, lung disease, and mental illness).
The discussions were held in the US where the Minister of Health Agnes Binagwaho led A large Rwandan delegation of Ministry policymakers, researchers and civil society members. They are in the US to attend the nineteenth International AIDS Conference.
United States Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius and Binagwaho agreed on the above 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 the conditions.
The two leaders also shared lessons from health reform efforts in Rwanda and Sebelius applauded progress that Rwanda has made in the health-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Minister 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.
Meanwhile, at 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.”
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.