We were delighted to host Dr. Agnès Binagwaho, Minister of Health of the Republic of Rwanda, for our Global Health Effectiveness session Wednesday and Thursday. As always, she was very inspiring and shared many words of wisdom. Here are a few highlights:
“Without evidence, you do not grow.”
“You have to take risks even if it’s a minister in front of you.”
Talking about the need for monitoring and evaluation as key to sustainability: “Document not only for you but for your people. In Rwanda we are not good at that. Our people are still poor despite 8% GDP but we have universal health care. But we have not documented enough, and now when I’m asked about it, I tell the story of health care access in my view. But someone else will tell the story another way.”
“Going for health is going across sectors to build strength for you. You need to think 10 years, 20 years from now, and certainly for when you are not there.”
“Fight corruption in all sectors. If the government does not care about the people, they won’t care about the plan.”
“In Rwanda, we say ‘Don’t come for charity, come for partnership.’”
In early July, a report was released which underestimated Rwanda’s childhood vaccination rates. Dr. Binagwaho took to Twitter to set the record straight:
Within days, a team from the WHO arrived in Rwanda to review the data and vaccination reports. By July 17th, an updated report was published on online. Once again, Dr. Binagwaho responded on Twitter:
This data, Dr. Binagwaho said, shows the great progress Rwanda has made in meeting, and even surpassing, some of the Millennium Development Goals. That’s the power of Twitter, she says.
Sophie G. Beauvais and Marie Connelly wrote this post.