Map of Rwanda

Global Health

Rwanda health
Improving maternal and child health is critical advancing development
Bill McCarthy


The health and livelihoods of Rwandans have greatly improved since the genocide in 1994. Men, women and children enjoy better access to lifesaving health services, and indicators point to significant improvements over the past five years.

Despite this progress, problems persist. In Rwanda, one child in 13 dies by age 5. Forty-four percent of children suffer from chronic malnutrition. Eleven percent of children are underweight and 3 percent are severely underweight. The fertility rate in Rwanda remains high at 4.6 children per woman but has significantly decreased as the availability of family planning services has increased. The entire population is at risk for malaria. Rwanda also faces a complex HIV/AIDS epidemic, with a prevalence of 3 percent among the general population but as high as 46 percent among the most at-risk populations.

USAID supports the Government of Rwanda’s initiatives to fight HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis; increase the quality and use of family planning and reproductive health services; improve maternal newborn and child health; and strengthen the overall health sector. 


Through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, USAID supports prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV; voluntary counseling and testing; care and treatment; psycho-social and other support services for people living with HIV/AIDS, orphans and other vulnerable children; and strengthening the health system. The United States is the leading donor of bilateral HIV/AIDS assistance to Rwanda.

Rwanda HIV country profile

Infectious Diseases

Rwanda is a focus of the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI). Through PMI, USAID supports the Government of Rwanda with a comprehensive approach to prevent and treat malaria, supporting four key areas: spraying homes with insecticides, distributing long-lasting insecticide-treated mosquito nets, providing essential antimalarial drugs, and managing malaria cases. In 2011, over 358,000 houses were sprayed, and 390,000 nets were procured and are being distributed. In addition, USAID helped community health workers effectively manage cases of fever in more than 235,000 children.

Maternal, Child, and Reproductive Health

USAID supports communities, governments and civil society organizations in providing an integrated package of quality, high-impact maternal, neonatal and child health services in a sustainable manner, promoting good governance and decentralized health services. Building the capacity of nurses and community health workers that deliver the first line of treatment remains a priority. USAID improves nutrition, especially among pregnant women and children under age 2. USAID also supports the Government of Rwanda’s national program to increase the availability of voluntary family planning and reproductive health services.

Health Systems

In addition to improving Rwandans’ health and saving lives, USAID’s health activities support the long-term development of the Rwandan health system. Significant support is provided through technical assistance to the Government of Rwanda for decentralization in the health sector, health policy development, strengthening health care financing, developing a pharmaceutical logistics system, and building capacity of service providers and systems.

Last updated: October 28, 2014

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