An American’s Journey to Unraveling Rwanda’s Healthcare Landscape

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In August 2022, an American family of six embarked on an extraordinary journey, trading their familiar life in Louisiana for the vibrant streets of Kigali, Rwanda. Driven by a sense of purpose and a desire to expand their horizons, they embraced the unfamiliar, ready to immerse themselves in the rich culture and diverse tapestry of Rwanda.

Amongst the family was a child with special needs, a precious soul whose well-being was their paramount concern. As they delved into Rwanda’s healthcare landscape, they were met with a mix of relief and uncertainty. While they were grateful for the availability of essential medications and supplies, the lack of transparent pricing and difficulty in comparing options left them feeling vulnerable.


Bridging The Gap

Determined to bridge this gap and empower others facing similar challenges, the family embarked on a mission to create a comprehensive healthcare directory, RwPharma. This platform would not only connect consumers with healthcare providers and suppliers but would also provide transparency in pricing and allow users to compare options, fostering informed decision-making.

Their journey was not without its hurdles. They faced language barriers, cultural nuances, and the complexities of navigating a new healthcare system. However, their unwavering determination and unwavering belief in the power of information propelled them forward.


Lessons Learned

Through their experiences, they gleaned valuable lessons about Rwanda’s healthcare landscape, insights that would prove invaluable in shaping RwPharma. They discovered that while most medications and supplies were readily available and affordable, accessing reliable information about pricing and options remained a challenge.

They learned that prescriptions were not always required to purchase medications and supplies, simplifying the process but also increasing the risk of falling prey to unscrupulous individuals who might exploit the lack of transparency.

The Birth of RwPharma

Their experiences highlighted the need for a platform that would not only connect consumers with healthcare providers and suppliers but would also provide transparency in pricing and allow users to compare options, fostering informed decision-making.

With RwPharma, the family envisioned a healthcare ecosystem that empowered consumers with knowledge, fostered improved service delivery, promoted competitive pricing, and allowed the best healthcare suppliers and providers to thrive and lead by example.

Their story is a testament to the power of resilience, adaptability, and a deep-rooted belief in the power of information to transform lives. RwPharma stands as a beacon of hope, illuminating the path towards a more informed, accessible, and equitable healthcare landscape for all Rwandans, both foreign and local.

RwPharma is a free healthcare directory connecting Rwanda’s healthcare providers and suppliers to the consumers who rely on them.

Tips on Healthcare in Rwanda


  • Most medications are readily available, affordable (i.e. blood pressure medication is about RWF 2,500 or $2.50 for a one-month supply), and easy to find at local pharmacies.
  • Pharmacists can recommend and sell over-the-counter and what would be prescription medications directly to consumers.
  • Chronic illness medications are affordable and easy to get without a prescription.
  • Medications like Ritalin, Adderall, and highly additive ones are difficult to acquire due to their perceived high risks to benefit ratio.
  • Most medication labels are in other languages and may not have detailed instructions.
  • Many pharmacists are knowledgeable and can help with medication questions and recommendations.


Medical Visits and Labs:

  • Emergency room and doctor’s visits cost around (RWF 7,000 – 12,000) (about  $7-$12) per consultation.
  • Labs can be more expensive but are still quite reasonable. A full blood workup and x-rays cost no more than RWF 25,000 (about $25).


Other Considerations:

  • Private health insurance is expensive and may not cover pre-existing conditions initially.
  • King Fisal Hospital is known for thorough care for complex health needs.
  • Dream Medical Center is smaller, faster, affordable, and has caring staff.
Deshina Buck
Author: Deshina Buck

Deshina Buck is a dynamic professional at the intersection of business innovation and digital transformation. With a keen analytical mind, Deshina leverages her expertise in data analysis and economic strategies to drive entrepreneurial success and empowerment. Her work is dedicated to helping businesses adapt and thrive in an increasingly digital landscape, focusing on practical solutions that deliver tangible results. Outside of her professional pursuits, Deshina is deeply engaged with exploring human behavior and spirituality, enriching her approach to business with unique insights into the human aspects of entrepreneurship. If you're interested in pushing the boundaries of digital transformation or discussing economic empowerment through entrepreneurship, Deshina welcomes the opportunity to connect. Feel free to reach out to discuss potential collaborations or to schedule a consultation. Join her in shaping a future where business growth and personal development go hand in hand.

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