[en] Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome/prevention & control ; Communicable Disease Control/ economics/organization & administration ; Financial Support ; Health Services Accessibility/ economics/statistics & numerical data ; Humans ; Insurance Coverage/statistics & numerical data ; Insurance, Health/ statistics & numerical data ; International Cooperation ; Malaria/prevention & control ; Program Evaluation ; Rwanda ; Tuberculosis/prevention & control
[en] The Global Fund Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) approved only three 'health systems strengthening' projects ever, one of them in Rwanda. This project intends to enhance financial access to health care by subsidising health insurance for the poor in order to combat the three diseases successfully. It was submitted to a mid-term evaluation in 2007. The findings of this evaluation are presented and triangulated with experience gained through several years of membership in the Rwandan Country Coordinating Mechanism and the multi-stakeholder 'Working Group on Mutuelles': The GFATM-funded project improved dramatically the financial access of its target group, the very poor--reaching approximately one Rwandan in six. Because of the established rigid regulatory framework, its impact on other population strata was more ambiguous. Improved financial access went hand-in-hand with growing health service utilisation and improvements in the population's health status, including better control of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. This success was achieved with limited financial resources. In consequence, interventions that strengthen health systems should always be considered for a prominent--if not a priority role--in GFATM-funded projects.