In Gatare, a rural village in eastern Rwanda, Liberata Musabyimana stands out. She wears a distinctive uniform: a long, brightly colored dress patterned with anti-malaria slogans. She is one of 45,000 government-sponsored community health workers who serve the villages and towns of this East African country.

Musabyimana, a 35-year-old mother of two, is a primary school graduate. A village committee elected her to become a health worker, and the Rwandan government then trained her to provide...

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