Harvard School to train Rwandan oncologists


Prof. Ngwa (L) and Dr Gashumba after signing the MoU. (Hudson Kuteesa)

Harvard Medical School, the graduate medical school of the prestigious Harvard University in the United States, has agreed to train over 20 clinical oncologists from Rwanda over the next few years.

 A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to that effect was signed Tuesday between the Ministry of Health and Harvard Medical School through “Harvard Catalyst,” the medical school’s Clinical and Translational Science Centre.

 The centre is dedicated to improving human health by enabling collaboration and providing tools, training, and technologies to clinical and translational investigators.

 The MoU was signed on the sidelines of the ongoing international cancer conference in Kigali.

After signing the deal, Professor Wilfred Ngwa the Director of Global Health Catalyst at Harvard Cancer Centre said that the first purpose of the collaboration is providing education and training in the country’s facilities like the Rwanda Military Hospital, Kanombe.

 Here, he said, they look to support the available trainers so that more specialists could be trained in the near future.

 “We want to train more people, and so we agreed that we are going to support training of over 20 clinical oncologists from Rwanda over the next few years,” he said.

 Ngwa also noted that the partnership is comprehensive and will include partnering in cancer research whereby they will help supporting research projects in Rwanda, as well as help Rwandans in the use of technology, especially telemedicine where, for instance, Rwandan doctors may send pathological images to the US in case they need the opinions of doctors there on the diagnosis.

He commended the good leadership policies of Rwandan government as well as the Ministry of   Health which he said is “really open to collaborations.”

 “I believe that the MoU signed today will make an impact on the lives of people going forward, save lives, help treat more people, and create jobs,” he said.

 Dr Diane Gashumba, the Minister for Health, referred to the collaboration as one that will “help build capacity of local doctors, healthcare providers, to enable them take care of patients with cancer,” and support the government’s comprehensive management of cancer using ICT as well as focusing on prevention, training and research.

 Established in 1782, Harvard is the third-oldest medical school in the United States.

It has been associated with a number of important medical and public-health innovations over the years, including the development of the first successful chemotherapy for childhood leukemia, introduction of smallpox vaccination to America, first use of anesthesia for pain control during surgery, the introduction of insulin to the US to treat diabetes, among others.