Infectious Diseases in Rwanda

Infectious Diseases in Rwanda

The Ministry of Health

The Ministry of Health is responsible for improving the Rwandan population’s health situation by strengthening the quality of service delivered and providing access to treatment through universal health insurance coverage


Malaria has been the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in Rwanda since the early sixties with occasional epidemics in the high altitude areas. Currently Rwanda has 24% of malaria prevalence and the country has few health workers with formal training, with the few available doctors mostly based in the urban areas and yet the highest percentage is in rural areas.

Government approach on malaria

  • Distribution of ITNs through mass campaigns and routine services targeting children and pregnant women
  • Implementation of malaria control activities through the integrated community health program by volunteers/health workers.
  • Mass distribution of long lasting Insecticide treated nets to children aged between 6 months and 5 years through an integrated


HIV prevalence in Rwanda was estimated at 2.9% in 2012, of the Rwandan population 7.3% in the urban area and 2.2% in the rural area, with the greatest impact being on its most productive members with consequences on the economic development of the country and household food security. This situation is aggravated by poverty, which affects 60% of the population and a high prevalence more than 30% of malnutrition.

Government approach on HIV/AIDS

  • Early on the government of Rwanda demonstrated strong commitment to both HIV prevention and treatment; it quickly recognized the negative development impact of the AIDS epidemic
  • Adopted a multi-sectoral approach and developed a national HIV/AIDS strategic plan.
  • Rwanda requested Bank assistance as part of the Multi-Country Action Program against HIV/AIDS (MAP) in Africa. The project is financed by a US$30.5 million IDA grant
  • Supports the full range of preventive, medical and support services for those living with HIV/AIDS
  • Most activities have had a nationwide focus and have been funded on a demand-driven basis.
  • Rwanda’s government has committed to strengthening systems to ensure decisions are being informed by accurate data HIV rates in the country
  • Facilitating strong participation across groups working to stop the HIV epidemic
  • Rwanda has increased its HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and treatment efforts to include volunteer counselling and testing (VCT) services
  • Support to orphans and other vulnerable children and the provision of anti-retroviral prophylaxis to HIV-positive men and women


Tuberculosis prevalence in Rwanda was estimated at 3.9% in 2012. Tuberculosis is a preventable and curable disease.

Approach to prevent Tuberculosis in Rwanda

  • Rwanda has substantially stepped up efforts to control tuberculosis and 100% of the population has access to DOTS therapy.
  • Over the past few years multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) has emerged as a new threat worldwide.
  • Rwanda’s National Integrated Program for Tuberculosis Control in conjunction with the Institute of Tropical Medicine of Belgium launched a national drug sensitivity survey to improve detection of drug-resistant strains of tuberculosis.
  • As a result of the survey between November 2004 and February 2005 Rwanda detected 200 new MDR-TB cases, up from 70 in previous years. Moreover, because detection rates improved
  • Rwanda got two tuberculosis grants from the Global Fund worth $13.2 million as well as a joint HIV/TB grant worth $14 million aiming at detection and treatment of tuberculosis.

Hepatitis B

This country has an intermediate prevalence of hepatitis B which stands at 3.6%, the disease can be transmitted through unsafe sex or primarily through contact with the blood of an infected person. Certain drugs, heavy alcohol use and bacterial and viral infections are some of the causes of hepatitis.

Approaches prevent Hepatitis Bon the disease

  • Some Rwandan medics are undergoing training to learn how to administer treatment for the disease
  • World Health Organization (WHO) called upon governments to strengthen efforts to fight viral hepatitis, an inflammation of the liver that kills about one million people every year.
  • The Ministry of Health is conducting research to establish the prevalence of Hepatitis B virus in the country
  • Rwandans urged to be aware of hepatitis

Hepatitis C

The prevalence of Hepatitis C stands at 2.5% in the country. Hepatitis C is very serious and its treatment remains inefficient though very expensive – costing about Rwf1 million per month while chances to be cured remain at about 50%.

Approach to Hepatitis C

Government urged people in Rwanda to be aware of the disease