On July 1st, help us to celebrate Rwanda’s Independence Day!
Rwanda is a central African nation with a population of approximately 12 million people. This green country with a rolling landscape has been lovingly nicknamed “the land of a thousand hills” by its people and it is home to many diverse species of plants and animals. The country was founded in 1962 after leaving Belgium’s rule and claiming their independence.
Overview of Rwanda’s Health Statistics
Rwanda is currently trying to rebuild and restructure their health care system after the recent conflict that the country has endured. The majority of the health care in the country is funded by a combination of the government and religious and humanitarian missions. There are currently 34 hospitals operating in the country and close to 200 urgent care crisis centers. The average life expectancy for the Rwandan people is 63 years of age.
Predominant Health Concerns Affecting the People of Rwanda
Malaria is a severe problem in this country, affecting close to 1.5 million people each year. There is also an issue with waterborne diseases as only 50% of the population has access to safe drinking water. Tuberculosis is widespread throughout the country, affecting close to 70 people out of every 100,000 and HIV and AIDS infection rates are relatively high as well. Some of the health concerns that are more specific to this country are:
Kwashiorkor is a form of malnutrition, usually seen in areas that are experiencing extreme famine. It is caused by a lack of protein in the diet and can be fatal if not properly treated.Eating a balanced diet containing enough fats, carbohydrates and protein will easily treat this condition. Symptoms of Kwashiorkor include a look of extreme emaciation except in the feet, ankles and belly area. These areas become swollen due to the water retention that occurs from malnutrition and the belly can appear very large and distended. Children who endure this condition for long periods of time may experience permanent organ damage and stunted growth.
This infectious disease is quite prevalent in Rwanda, affecting between 1.5% – 3.5% of the population. Hepatitis is most common in the urban areas of this country and is found less frequently in rural regions. Hepatitis is transmitted through sexual contact or by coming into contact with the blood of an infected person
Mental Health Issues
During the last decade, after the recent conflict and genocide that has occurred in Rwanda, mental health problems have become increasingly common. It is estimated that mental health issues have increased close to 1000%. During times of great stress and trauma, people have to endure things that can greatly affect their mental and emotional state, causing an increase in depression, mood disorders and drug and alcohol abuse rates. Programs have been initiated to help those affected, especially young children.
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On July 1st, please join us in wishing the people of Rwanda a very happy Independence Day!
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