Excerpt taken from an article originally published in NPR.
Years before she became the health minister of Rwanda, Agnès Binagwaho tried to lock a fellow pediatrician in a hospital room. She saw a doctor in an examining room with a mother who held her sick daughter in her arms. And he was asleep.
When Binagwaho saw the scene, she was appalled. She examined the girl herself in a separate room and then asked the child to shut the door on the doctor, who wouldn’t be able to get out without the nurse’s key.
The medical staff wasn’t too pleased. “They found me more guilty for trying to close him in that room for the night than him for mistreating the kid who could have died,” she says.
Throughout her life, Binagwaho — affectionately called “Dr. Agnès” by colleagues — has been unafraid to defy authority by speaking her mind. In the process, she has helped to transform Rwanda’s health system.