A persistent shortage of health care workers in Rwanda is a key barrier to meeting the nation’s health needs. As one strategy to address this challenge, Rwanda’s Human Resources for Health (HRH) Program was conceived to strengthen health professional education and thereby increase the number of high-quality health professionals in the country. The $99.5 million HRH Program (2011-2019) was funded largely by the Government of Rwanda; the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; and the U.S. government’s initiative to support the global response to HIV, known as the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). PEPFAR contributed funds from 2012 to 2017, amounting to 60 percent of the total. The Program, which was designed, managed, and implemented by the Rwanda Ministry of Health (MOH), partnered U.S. medical, nursing, dental, and public health educational institutions with the University of Rwanda College of Medicine and Health Sciences. HRH Program activities centered on a twinning program that paired Rwandan and U.S. faculty and health professionals, the creation of new specialty training programs and curricula, and infrastructure investments in teaching hospitals and learning environments.
In 2018, CDC and the State Department’s Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator asked the National Academies to evaluate PEPFAR-supported HRH Program activities in relation to programmatic priorities, outputs, and outcomes, and examine, to the extent feasible, the impact of PEPFAR funding for the Program on HRH outcomes and on patient- or population-level HIV-related outcomes.