International Journal of Health Policy and Management (2018-11-01)

Health Professional Training and Capacity Strengthening Through International Academic Partnerships: The First Five Years of the Human Resources for Health Program in Rwanda

  • Corrado Cancedda,
  • Philip Cotton,
  • Joseph Shema,
  • Stephen Rulisa,
  • Robert Riviello,
  • Lisa V. Adams,
  • Paul E. Farmer,
  • Jeanne N. Kagwiza,
  • Patrick Kyamanywa,
  • Donatilla Mukamana,
  • Chrispinus Mumena,
  • David K. Tumusiime,
  • Lydie Mukashyaka,
  • Esperance Ndenga,
  • Theogene Twagirumugabe,
  • Kaitesi B. Mukara,
  • Vincent Dusabejambo,
  • Timothy D. Walker,
  • Emmy Nkusi,
  • Lisa Bazzett-Matabele,
  • Alex Butera,
  • Belson Rugwizangoga,
  • Jean Claude Kabayiza,
  • Simon Kanyandekwe,
  • Louise Kalisa,
  • Faustin Ntirenganya,
  • Jeffrey Dixson,
  • Tanya Rogo,
  • Natalie McCall,
  • Mark Corden,
  • Rex Wong,
  • Madeleine Mukeshimana,
  • Agnes Gatarayiha,
  • Egide Kayonga Ntagungira,
  • Attila Yaman,
  • Juliet Musabeyezu,
  • Anne Sliney,
  • Tej Nuthulaganti,
  • Meredith Kiernan,
  • Peter Okwi,
  • Joseph Rhatigan,
  • Jane Barrow,
  • Kim Wilson,
  • Adam C. Levine,
  • Rebecca Reece,
  • Michael Koster,
  • Rachel T. Moresky,
  • Jennifer E. O’Flaherty,
  • Paul E. Palumbo,
  • Rashna Ginwalla,
  • Cynthia A. Binanay,
  • Nathan Thielman,
  • Michael Relf,
  • Rodney Wright,
  • Mary Hill,
  • Deborah Chyun,
  • Robin T. Klar,
  • Linda L. McCreary,
  • Tonda L. Hughes,
  • Marik Moen,
  • Valli Meeks,
  • Beth Barrows,
  • Marcel E. Durieux,
  • Craig D. McClain,
  • Amy Bunts,
  • Forrest J. Calland,
  • Bethany Hedt-Gauthier,
  • Danny Milner,
  • Giuseppe Raviola,
  • Stacy E. Smith,
  • Meenu Tuteja,
  • Urania Magriples,
  • Asghar Rastegar,
  • Linda Arnold,
  • Ira Magaziner,
  • Agnes Binagwaho

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 7, no. 11
pp. 1024 – 1039


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Background The Rwanda Human Resources for Health Program (HRH Program) is a 7-year (2012-2019) health professional training initiative led by the Government of Rwanda with the goals of training a large, diverse, and competent health workforce and strengthening the capacity of academic institutions in Rwanda. Methods The data for this organizational case study was collected through official reports from the Rwanda Ministry of Health (MoH) and 22 participating US academic institutions, databases from the MoH and the College of Medicine and Health Sciences (CMHS) in Rwanda, and surveys completed by the co-authors. Results In the first 5 years of the HRH Program, a consortium of US academic institutions has deployed an average of 99 visiting faculty per year to support 22 training programs, which are on track to graduate almost 4600 students by 2019. The HRH Program has also built capacity within the CMHS by promoting the recruitment of Rwandan faculty and the establishment of additional partnerships and collaborations with the US academic institutions. Conclusion The milestones achieved by the HRH Program have been substantial although some challenges persist. These challenges include adequately supporting the visiting faculty; pairing them with Rwandan faculty (twinning); ensuring strong communication and coordination among stakeholders; addressing mismatches in priorities between donors and implementers; the execution of a sustainability strategy; and the decision by one of the donors not to renew funding beyond March 2017. Over the next 2 academic years, it is critical for the sustainability of the 22 training programs supported by the HRH Program that the health-related Schools at the CMHS significantly scale up recruitment of new Rwandan faculty. The HRH Program can serve as a model for other training initiatives implemented in countries affected by a severe shortage of health professionals.