A team of over 30 surgeons from the United Kingdom and Germany, along with their Rwandan counterparts, will this week operate on patients with complex cases like hernia and various Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) diseases.
According Dr Theophile Dushime, the director general of clinical services at the Ministry of Health, the medics will treat diseases which would otherwise take longer to be treated due to shortage of local experts.
He said the ministry has signed a memorandum of understanding with Rwanda Legacy of Hope, a Non-Governmental Organisation that brings medical experts and offer free treatment to the needy patients.
“whenever the visiting medics come, they operate on patients and train our local medics,” said Dushime.
Rwanda Legacy of Hope seeks to improve living conditions of vulnerable Rwandans by improving their health care, according to Osée Ntavuka, the organisation’s founder.
This time round they target to operate on about 300 patients with hernia and ENT diseases.
Hernias are most common in the abdomen, but they can also appear in the upper thigh, belly button, and groin areas.
According to Dr Chris Oppong, the Rwanda Legacy of Hope chairperson, their aim is to provide Rwandans with improved quality of health care in various areas of surgery.
He said they started with general surgery in 2012 and are now expanding into other specialties such as plastic surgery, orthopedics, hernia and ENT among others.
He said several local medics have been trained in modern surgical practices and the skills acquired help improve service delivery in the health sector.
“Our aim is to help improve the health of people and provide them with very high quality service, we also seek to transfer our skills to the doctors here and we hope to train them to such a level that they can offer the people of Rwanda very high quality services,” said Opnong.
He said this medical tour, which started last Friday will end on Friday this week, involves training of medical practitioners who are undergoing master’s courses in general surgery.
Operations start today.
The partnership with the Ministry of Health and Rwanda Legacy of Hope started in 2012 and since then, between 30 and 40 patients have been operated on in each of the six hospitals where they operate, according to Oppong.
A surgery training centre has been established at Rwamagana Hospital but, according to officials, currently the team works with other hospitals such as Remera Rukoma, Gahini, Kirinda, Nyamata, Kigeme, Kibogora and Central Teaching University Hospital of Kigali (CHUK).
Carine Uwakunda, a general surgery post-graduate said, as a medical practitioner, such an exercise will equip her with additional skills that will help her perform her job better.
“For example, with hernias and its treatment, all we learnt was theory, so with these experts it is a great opportunity for us to put these skills into practice,” she said.
Every time the experts come with a variety of equipment which they leave in the country for future usage.
Last year, they came with equipment, worth Rwf70 million, while this year they came with equipment worth Rwf80 million.