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Rwanda’s Spectacular Health Care Revolution

Rwanda isn’t a country we typically associate with good news, but that’s exactly what we have here: The country doing extremely well on several metrics these days, particularly public health. The article, published by famous public health doctor Paul Farmer in the British Medical Journal, details the country’s vast accomplishments since the 1994 genocide. The NYT reports:

With help from Western donors, the number of people getting treatment for AIDS  rose to 108,000 from near zero a decade earlier….

Since 2000, the maternal mortality ratio has fallen by 60 percent; the likelihood that a child would die by age 5 has dropped by 70 percent.

Upwards of 98 percent of all Rwandans have low-cost health insurance, and the country offers free preventive care (mosquito nets, immunizations).

Africa experts disagree about the exact causes of this success story. Some chalk it up to foreign aid, others to the competency of the Rwandan government. Either way, it seems like something foreign development officials ought to be studying.

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