Our partner organization based in Kigali, Rwanda is Health Development Initiative (HDI-Rwanda), founded in 2005 by Rwandan physicians dedicated to promoting health and development in disadvantaged communities. Dr. Aflodis Kagaba, co-founder and Executive Director of HDI, grew up in a refugee settlement in western Uganda, where his family fled years earlier to escape anti-Tutsi violence in Rwanda. After witnessing many people experience premature death from preventable diseases, he became a medical professional with a passionate commitment to improving access to quality healthcare for disadvantaged groups.
With over 30 staff members and volunteers, HDI-Rwanda manages two health centers, trains local healthcare providers to administer non-discriminatory healthcare, empowers Rwanda’s most vulnerable to advocate for themselves and their communities, and provides support and health education to increase prevention and treatment of disease and illness. Guided by the core values of a Rights-Based Approach, Accountability, Partnership, Transparency and Sustainability, HDI professionals and staff have worked to improve both the quality and accessibility of healthcare for all Rwandans. HDI brings together an experienced team with expertise in medicine, public health, human rights, and community development.
HDI’s work over the last ten years has shed light on healthcare obstacles still facing several vulnerable groups in Rwanda such as the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Intersexed (LGBTI) community, female sex workers, and a small marginalized minority, historically referred to as the Twa. While there is no law penalizing homosexuality, many LGBTI members still face bigotry and inequality while seeking healthcare. Exploited, impoverished, and fearful of arrest, many female sex workers avoid healthcare, thus resulting in an HIV prevalence rate of 50%. Among the most impoverished groups in Rwanda, most Twa women give birth at home with virtually no prenatal care, resulting in high maternal mortality.