Paul Farmer’s Graph of the Year: Rwanda’s plummeting child mortality rate

December 29, 2013

Time has its "Person of the Year." Amazon has its books of the year. Pretty Much Amazing has its mixtapes of the year. Buzzfeed has its insane-stories-from-Florida of the year. And Wonkblog, of course, has its graphs of the year. For 2013, we asked some of the year's most interesting, important and influential thinkers to name their favorite graph of the year — and why they chose it. Here's medical anthropologist Paul Farmer's. 


2014 will mark the 20th year since the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. Over the past decade, the Rwandan health sector has linked an equity plan with a robust delivery system to achieve some of the steepest declines in premature mortality ever documented anywhere. The country’s child mortality rate—once the world’s highest—has fallen at a pace of 11.1% per year, and is now in line with the global average. There is much to celebrate, but perhaps even more to learn.

Dr. Paul Farmer is Kolokotrones University Professor at Harvard University, an infectious disease physician with the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and co-founder of Partners In Health, which works in Rwanda and nine other countries.

See all the graphs of 2013 here, including entries from Jonathan FranzenBill McKibbenEmily Oster, and Ta-Nehisi Coates.

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Sarah Kliff · December 29, 2013