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Is Rwanda is really ready to become a “medical tourism” destination ?




Ivan Ngoboka


We published a 1st article about the medical tourism, last year : here


Medical tourism has for long been a preserve of a few countries such as South Africa, India, Saudi Arabia and to some extent Kenya — those countries with a long tradition of a developed health infrastructure.


However, recent investment social infrastructure and human resource, has not only made Rwanda a global reference point for quality health care, but has also put in place a solid foundation for the country’s rise to a future haven for medical travel.


(Several health facilities country-wide are undergoing renovation and expansion as part of the efforts to make their services world class. One such example is the Rwanda Military Hospital (RMH) that is constructing a Rwf1.8 billion wing for very important persons. Construction works started in October last year and will be complete early next year.




The government’s efforts at revamping the health sector have not gone unnoticed, the country has earned praise from international health establishments like World Health Organisation(WHO); becoming  a model of quality healthcare delivery to other countries. In May this year, the WHO lauded Rwanda for reducing maternal deaths by 77 per cent since 1990 — meeting the United Nations Millennium Development Goal (MDG 5) of reducing the number of women who die during pregnancy, or shortly after giving birth, by three-quarters, beating the 2015 deadline.




While the government has succeeded in revamping the health sector, a lot still remains to be done to position the country as a destination of choice for medical tourism. Experts emphasize the need for more investment in infrastructure, human resource and wooing more foreign investors to build more world class health facilities. 


Dr Vincent Rusanganwa, the in charge of medical education and research at the health ministry, says there is still shortage of medical workers country-wide. For example, there is only one doctor for every 15,000 people. He remarks that there is need to recruit more medical personnel, so at least the ratio is reduced to one doctor for every 10,000 patients.



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