A German physician, who has worked in Rwanda for the last 23 years, was conferred upon with the Germany’s only federal decoration for treating complicated diseases that would otherwise have devastated the lives of children.
Dr Uta Elisabeth Düll, Chief Medical Doctor and Head of Gikonko Health Centre since 1995, was decorated with Bundesverdienstkreuz, the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany by the German Ambassador to Rwanda, Dr Peter Woeste, in Kigali.
Gikonko Health Centre, which is located in Gisagara District, is among the few medical facilities in Rwanda that treat hydrocephalus, a condition that mainly attacks children between the ages of two and three.
The neurological condition can develop within weeks of birth and requires surgery to cure.
Dr Uta, 58, a nun, is said to have operated on hundreds of children over the last 23 years.
She told The New Times that in the aftermath of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, she was forced to engage in a rather unique practice different from her area of specialisation – by operating on Genocide survivors.
“I have lived in Rwanda longer than I have lived in Germany. I have no plans of moving back to Germany but this medal makes me proud of my roots and the work I do in Rwanda,” Uta, a daughter of a German diplomat born in Asia, said in an interview.
She added “This medal is a testament that someone somewhere has an eye on you and appreciates what you do even if you are serving in the remotest part of your society. What matters is to do your best every day to transform lives,” Uta said.
German Ambassador to Rwanda Dr Peter Woeste commended Dr Uta for the “exceptional service” she has rendered to Rwanda for all the years.
Gikonko Health Centre is run by the Catholic Church.
The facility is specialised in life changing surgeries on children with Hydrocephalus and Spinal Bifita, thanks in part to Uta’s expertise.