Rwandan doctors to get scholarships

A Canadian health support organisation Healthy Kids International (HKI) is to help Rwandan doctors acquire specialized training in child health.

A Canadian health support organisation Healthy Kids International (HKI) is to help Rwandan doctors acquire specialized training in child health.

HKI launched its support programme on Saturday at Kigali Serena Hotel pending signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Health this week. If signed, the deal will result in 10 such scholarships being offered by HKI under the funding of One X One.

Speaking at the launch of Healthy Kids International Fellowship Programme, Michael w. O’Mahoney, the president of HKI, said the programme will address the shortage of paediatricians in Rwanda.

“This will be met through enhancing training of small groups of paediatricians who can return to Rwanda and train others,” he said.

He further said the one-year training programme at Sick-Kids, a hospital for sick children in Toronto, Canada will also provide support to each participant upon returning to Rwanda with Canadian dollars 20,000 (Frw10.6m) per year for four years.

He added: “The funds are meant to plan and initiate training programmes, expand telemedicine activities among other related initiatives identified for advancing health of children in Rwanda.”

O’Mahoney stressed that the programme will run for the next five to ten years and if any beneficiary doctor mismanages the funds, they would not give them any further assistance.

At the launch, Prof. Geoffrey A. Barker, Executive Medical Director of HKI, stated: “Being the first programme in Africa and second in the world after a similar one in India, it is a privilege for Canadians to reach out to paediatricians and Rwandan children. We hope that thousands of Rwandan children benefit as a result of this programme.”

King Faysal Hospital’s Dr. Joseph Mucumbitsi, who heads the Rwanda Heart Foundation, was identified as the first HKI fellow from Rwanda for his focus on the hundreds of children suffering from cardiac disease in Rwanda.

Mucumbitsi said it was an honour to have such a programme in the country. The launch also saw Dr. Stevenson Musiime identified as another who will benefit in the programme.

The Executive Secretary of the National Aids Control Commission (CNLS), Dr Agnes Binagwaho, was appointed as the HKI ambassador for Rwanda.

It was revealed that HKI plans to oversee the in-country activities of the Rwanda programme by coordinating activities and seeking advice from other health institutions.

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