Public health, technology and social context in Rwanda's COVID-19 response

Bikesha, Denis and Moore, Allan ORCID: (2022) Public health, technology and social context in Rwanda's COVID-19 response. In: Routledge Handbook of Law and the COVID-19 Pandemic. Routledge, Taylor and Francis, London, UK, pp. 324-335. ISBN 9781003211952

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Rwanda has, at the time of writing, managed to suppress the spread of COVID-19 to levels lower than all the countries that surround it in Central and East Africa. This chapter examines some of the main reasons why. From the pre-emptive stages of pandemic preparation, the Rwandan government planned for the use of information technology to be central within its public health approach and followed through with implementation of a range of measures utilising such technology when the virus was detected within Rwanda’s borders. From the use of robots for diagnostic and data collection purposes, to the deployment of drones to communicate public health guidance to the population, the benefits in reducing contact and transmission have been clear. Further necessary clarification is provided related to the legal basis for executive use of powers and the balance between human rights and state obligations under Rwanda’s 2003 Constitution (as amended in 2015). Finally, the chapter analyses the historical-social context of Rwanda that contextualises the likelihood of Rwandan people adhering to restrictions placed upon their everyday lives. The chapter concludes that, while some aspects of Rwanda’s approach may be replicable elsewhere, other reasons for Rwanda’s success may be less transferable, being dependent on the social context developed after more than two decades of transitional justice and reconciliation-based activities in the country.

Item Type: Book Section
Identifier: 10.4324/9781003211952-30
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge/CRC Press in Routledge Handbook of Law and the COVID-19 Pandemic on 17 May 2022, available online: or Citation: Bikesha, D. & Moore, A.T. (2022) ‘Public Health, Technology and Social Context in Rwanda’s COVID-19 Response’, in Grogan J. & Donald A., (eds.) The Routledge Handbook on Law and the COVID-19 Pandemic, Routledge
Keywords: Rwanda, Kigali, Africa, Constitution, Trust, Robots, Drones
Subjects: Medicine and health > Health promotion and public health
Medicine and health > Health promotion and public health > Infection prevention
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Allan Moore
Date Deposited: 19 Jul 2022 10:34
Last Modified: 24 Sep 2023 02:45


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