“Rwanda has made remarkable progress in fighting communicable diseases, and is now making progress in the fight against NCDs. The fight against NCDs calls for global networking and solidarity.“
– Dr. Agnes Binagwaho, Minister of Health, Rwanda
According to the World Health Organization, nearly 80% of global NCD deaths occur in low and middle income countries like Rwanda. While the country has had success in reducing rates of infectious disease, there remains a significant need to address NCDs, which in 2008 accounted for an estimated 29% of national mortality. As urbanization occurs and the population develops high-risk behaviors, Rwanda is experiencing a rise in NCDs like cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Rwanda’s Ministry of Health has demonstrated a strong commitment to fighting NCDs, both nationally and on a global scale. Minister of Health Dr. Agnes Binagwaho is leading a comprehensive NCD strategic plan that includes updating health facilities, increasing numbers of skilled health workers, and establishing strategic policies and partnerships. In July, 2013 the Ministry collaborated with the international nonprofit Partners In Health to organize the inaugural meeting of the NCD Synergies Network, an international network of low income countries dedicated to sharing best practices and increasing technical cooperation in the fight against NCDs.
Global networking and solidarity are essential in the fight against NCDs. On their visit to Rwanda the Congressional staffers will meet with leading health experts and policymakers, and witness firsthand how a nation’s commitment to international partnerships and a comprehensive approach to healthcare can improve lives at home and around the world.