Since the early 1990s, FHI 360 has provided strategic leadership to address some of Rwanda’s most pressing health and development needs. We helped introduce clinical care and treatment services for HIV in Rwanda and assisted in the establishment of the country’s first four sites to offer HIV voluntary counseling and testing (VCT), antiretroviral treatment (ART) and services to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
In close collaboration with national and local partners, FHI 360’s activities in Rwanda have resulted in the creation of new national health policies, including those that strengthen support for people living with HIV. In September 2005, FHI 360 partnered with the Rwandan Ministry of Health to pilot task shifting, an approach in which ART prescriptions are given by trained nurses rather than doctors. Positive results from an external evaluation of this program led to a policy change in September 2009, which gave ART prescription authority to nurses, and ultimately resulted in a national plan to expand the approach.
Our evidence-based HIV prevention interventions that target female sex workers with comprehensive services and customized, local solutions have helped us to identify other underserved groups in need of services. These interventions, along with the links we created to health facilities, informed the development of national guidelines to serve female sex workers in Rwanda.
Data collecting and analysis are important components of our work in Rwanda. To support the Ministry of Health in decreasing unmet needs for family planning and improving reproductive health services, FHI 360 gathered and analyzed evidence from 10 studies on family planning service provisions that helped providers and policymakers improve the delivery of family planning and reproductive health services.
Today, FHI 360’s efforts in Rwanda reflect the country’s evolving priorities in health and education. We help the government develop comprehensive and integrated HIV and AIDS programming, strengthen health systems and support interventions that address family planning, maternal and child health, and the socioeconomic causes that lead to adverse health behaviors. We have also expanded our technical support to help the Government of Rwanda improve quality of education. We use innovative technology to expand access to books and other basic materials; build communities of educators so that teachers, administrators and students can learn from each other; and empower educators by providing them with tools that further their professional development and success.