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MSF in Rwanda, 2006
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Rwandans are confronting numerous consequences of the genocide that began in 1994 and killed approximately 800,000 of the country's eight million people. Many people lost family members and the horrific events that took place are having a lasting impact on many aspects of their lives. As a result of the genocide, there is now a gender imbalance within the country, a large number of widows heading households, and a lack of trained professionals such as judges, technicians, administrators and doctors. MSF is operating projects to provide maternal healthcare services and help people cope with HIV/AIDS.
Some of Africa's highest maternal mortality rates are found in Rwanda, with approximately 1,071 women dying for every 100,000 live births. MSF is improving reproductive health in Northern Province — formerly Ruhengeri Province — a region with inadequate access to both basic healthcare and reproductive health services.
MSF works in the maternity ward of the provincial hospital and six health centers in the Burera district. Working closely with community actors, this program has three main areas of intervention: obstetrical emergencies; implementation of family planning; and maintenance of all general reproductive health services including ante-natal, delivery and post-natal care. Assistance for women survivors of sexual abuse, including psychological support, was also integrated in 2006.
Admissions have risen steeply since MSF implemented very low flat fees aimed at improving access to care. Some 1,464 admissions were recorded the first quarter of 2006 in the maternity ward alone, doubling the number of admissions over the previous fee system. Free services are also ensured for the poorest sections of society.
In Kigali, MSF operates a comprehensive HIV/AIDS project aimed at preventing the spread of HIV and providing treatment to those who are infected, offering care at two health centers for some 7,600 people living with HIV/AIDS. Of those patients, 2,200 people are receiving antiretroviral medicines, including 260 children. MSF is also helping implement the national AIDS protocol and promoting access to generic antiretrovirals, the less expensive alternative to patented brands.
MSF has worked in Rwanda since 1991.