Rwanda, the land of a thousand hills (‘mille collines’) is a beautiful, sparkling clean country in the heart of the African continent. No bigger than the state of Maryland in the U.S., and bordered on the east by Congo, the North by Uganda, the East by Tanzania and the south by Burundi. 

It is one of the safest and most populous countries in Africa, planted with terraced vegetable gardens and dotted with beautiful small villages and towns. 

It is rapidly becoming a fabulous example of what can happen when government, faith, medical, social and political structures align with education and good will to create peace.

Founders Jeff and Jill Rose with
President  Kagame.

The country is most well known to tourists as the best place to interact with rare native gorillas (in the mist) deep in the jungles of the Ruhengeri region. 

To the world at large, Rwando is known for the worst mass genocide in modern history (1994).

Rwanda has been the subject of many recent books and several moving films (Hotel Rwanda) and documentaries (Ghosts of Rwanda) which serve to outline what human tragedy and reconciliation can be on a colossal and previously unimaginable scale.  

The population is expected to increase from 9.5 million in 2007 to 11.3 million in 2012, making Rwanda the most densely populated acreage on the continent.

The indigenous people of Rwanda farm, export coffee and tend to small groups of cattle and sheep in the country, where average annual income is less than $250US per year.  From beautiful lakes to high mountain volcanoes, thriving vegetable gardens abound amidst devastating poverty in the rich soil of the country.

Rwanda Health

Microscopic view of Plasmodium falaciparum in the red blood cells, cause of the most toxic form of malaria.

Malaria poses a significant threat with serious consequences for most of the Rwandan population since it remains the leading cause of morbidity and mortality countrywide. Most of the Rwandan population of about 8.5 million suffers an estimated two or three malaria episodes per year; with malaria-related costs representing a significant financial burden.

• Malaria is responsible for 49.40% of all in-patient deaths and 43.40% of all outpatients’ attendance (2004).

• 40 % of deaths in children under five are due to malaria. The disease is the main killer disease for that age group.

• Malaria is responsible for a high mortality rate among pregnant women and results to a high number of still-born's, premature deliveries and low birth weight.

Tremendous efforts have been made by the Rwandan Government to address the pandemic of HIV/AIDS and make the fight against HIV/AIDS a national priority. Efficient actions and advocacy need to be continuously stressed for HIV/AIDS prevention, care and support to be equitably disseminated to the Rwandan population.

• In Rwanda, HIV/AIDS is a generalized epidemic, since the HIV prevalence rate nationwide is 3% (DHS, 2005). The HIV prevalence rate in urban areas is consistently higher than in rural areas. 

• High level of HIV infection was recorded among women and girls, particularly women in urban areas. 3,6% of women are infected with the HIV/Aids virus compared to 2.3% of the men (DHS, 2005).

Some of the most wonderful humanitarian efforts in the interest of health are being provided by organizations like Partners in Health (PIH) and generosity of the Rwanda P.E.A.C.E. plan, and these hospitals and associated clinics, as well as governmental organizations, are a current major focus of AHHF.

Gathering water for the household

Diarrhea and helminthic diseases cause more than 70% morbidity in Rwanda.

They are mainly associated with inadequate access to safe water, unhygienic food preparation facilities and practices, unsafe disposal of feces, inadequate collection and disposal of garbage, inadequate hand washing and other unhygienic behaviors.

As a result of unhealthy environments, children in particular and immune compromised persons suffer more than three episodes per year

Diarrhea and helminthic diseases are the major killers of children under five years and the immune- compromised persons. They also kill through dehydration and malnutrition. Malnutrition has contributed to the increase in maternal and infant mortality. Appropriate nutrition is essential for the physical and mental growth of human beings particularly children.

The Rwandan government  acknowledges that by investing in the nutrition, the country’s human resources would be in good health and therefore sustainable development will be strengthened. Regarding appropriate nutrition, particular emphasis must be put on young children at the school going and pre-school going age, pregnant  women, breast feeding mothers  and people living with the HIV / AIDS.

Although the majority of  Rwandan women breast their babies, only 17, 4 % feed their babies of less than 6 months on exclusively breast milk and no other food or beverage. Nine percent of mothers in Rwanda suffer from malnutrition, particularly in the rural areas.

Forty-three percent of children of less than 5 years suffer from chronic  malnutrition that has led to retarded growth, physical weakness and poor intellectual capabilities.