Country Stories

Civil society and government join forces to accelerate cancer care for women in Rwanda


NCD Alliance | 14 May 2023

Rwanda - a regional leader in Universal Health Coverage - is helping women to detect and treat breast and cervical cancer earlier as part of government and civil society partnership to lower rates of undetected cancer.

Key Messages
  • Women in Rwanda face limited access to quality health services, which results in a range of health, economic, and social consequences, especially in low-resource settings.
  • Rwanda’s Patient Navigation initiative aims to decrease morbidity and mortality from breast and cervical cancers through greater access to screening, diagnosis and care.
  • The initiative is being implemented by the Rwanda NCD Alliance in collaboration with the Rwanda Ministry of Health, Rwanda Biomedical Center (RBC), International Cancer Institute (ICI), Rwanda Military Hospital, and Masaka District Hospital.
  • From the launch in September 2022 until March 2023, the initiative has achieved impressive results, screening a total of 14,435 women, with 302 patients being diagnosed and treated.
  • The initiative addresses challenges such as low health literacy, myths and stigma, poverty, and reliance on traditional healers.
  • Rwanda has become a regional leader in healthcare and UHC, with 90.5% of the population having some form of health insurance.
  • Primary health care in rural and peri-urban areas has been reinforced to tackle chronic disease in accordance with the WHO PEN-Plus Strategy, the regional strategy to address NCDs at first-level referral facilities in Africa launched by WHO in 2022.