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Geospatial evaluation of radiologic access in Rwanda.

BACKGROUND: Rwanda has aimed to rebuild its health care system since the Rwandan genocide against the Tutsis in 1994, though one of the challenges has been a scarcity of radiologic resources.

OBJECTIVE: To assess the location and accessibility of radiologic facilities in Rwanda using geospatial mapping and population-based data.

METHODS: A cross-sectional study was conducted in May 2023 using location and radiologic modality data provided by the Department of Radiology at the University Teaching Hospital of Kigali and the WorldPop database, a publicly available database providing open-access geospatial population data. Radiologic equipment included magnetic resonance (MR), computed tomography (CT), positron emission tomography (PET), radiotherapy, X-ray, mammography, and fluoroscopy machines. Geospatial analysis was performed using ArcGIS Pro 2.8.6 software.

RESULTS: Fifty-six radiologic facilities were identified, including 5 MR, 7 CT, 1 radiotherapy, 52 X-ray, 5 mammography, 5 fluoroscopy, and 0 PET machines. There were 0.4 MR, 0.5 CT, 0 PET, 0.1 radiotherapy, 3.9 X-ray, 0.4 mammography, and 0.4 fluoroscopy units per 1 million people.

CONCLUSION: Rwanda is one of the countries with the lowest radiologic access in East Africa; however, there is evidence of progress, particularly in more advanced diagnostic imaging techniques such as computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging.

CRITICAL RELEVANCE STATEMENT: This study provides a 10-year update on current radiologic resources and access in Rwanda, identifying areas of progress and ongoing scarcity, serving as a guide for future direction of growth.

KEY POINTS: • As Rwanda works on rebuilding its health care system, this study provides an assessment of the current radiologic resources within the country. • There is less than one radiologic unit for every million of the Rwandan population for every imaging modality other than X-ray. • While radiologic access in Rwanda lags behind that of its neighbors, there has been growth focused on advanced imaging modalities and the training of human resources.

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