We aim to be the leading medical centre in Africa – CEO of King Faisal Hospital

Dr Joaquin Bielsa, CEO of Oshen-King Faisal Hospital.

Oshen Health Care, the organisation that took over the management of King Faisal Hospital last year, pledged to improve and mould the hospital into an international health facility. Dr Joaquin Bielsa, the Chief Executive Officer of Oshen-King Faisal Hospital, shared his assessment with The New Times’ Donah Mbabazi on how far they have come in their journey of creating a mark on Rwanda’s health sector.

Briefly explain the content of the partnership between the Government of Rwanda and Oshen Healthcare.

In 2017, Oshen Healthcare reached an agreement with the Rwandan government to take over the management of King Faisal hospital – the largest acute care provider in the country. The agreement is a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) to implement an innovative programme guided to improve the healthcare assistance of the Rwandan population and to turn King Faisal Hospital into an international reference healthcare institution

We understand that one of the objectives for Oshen Healthcare is to make King Faisal a five-star hospital. How are you planning to attain this?

As part of the contract, Oshen Healthcare will manage and invest 18.1bn Rwandan Francs in the first five years to upgrade the existing hospital infrastructure. Our mission is to continue to be the best hospital in Rwanda and be recognised as a leading medical centre in Africa.

In five years KFH will be an efficient, modern, innovative and with international quality standards health institution.

We are engaged with the development of Rwanda, in this regard we proactively collaborate with the government in order that Rwanda becomes a reference medical hub.

What are some your development plans going forward?

King Faisal aspires to receive more referred patients than any other hospital in East Africa. It already receives private patients from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, and Uganda. It wants to become the medical tourist destination in Africa.

During the first five years of management, Oshen Healthcare plans to bring in new sub-specialties, adding cardiology, gynaecology, fertility unit, paediatric surgery and oncology to the services in the hospital.

King Faisal hospital will also form international partnerships like the one we have just agreed with Sant Joan de Deu in Barcelona, a highly specialised maternity and children’s hospital with international recognition.

By the end of the current year, we will finish the construction of a new building for catering services and the rehabilitation of maintenance area. We will also start the construction of a new Out Patients building.

Beginning 2019 we will create a new emergencies service and a theatre with five fully equipped specialized operating rooms. After that we will implement a new Intensive Care Unit (ICU) with a Cath lab, an oncology day care hospital, and a new mother and child area (integrated with theatres, NICU and fertility unit). That plan includes the renovation of two new hospitalisation floors.

In terms of equipment, we have an ambitious plan to provide with the best and modern equipment the operating theatres, radiology, cardiac catheterization laboratory, IT, outpatient clinics and kitchen.

What challenges did you encounter Rwanda’s health system that you hope to address?

The number of medical specialists in Rwanda is limited. Our project for King Faisal Hospital includes increasing the number of specialities and medical specialists. We are joining efforts and coordinating with Ministry of Health, to send doctors and technicians to reference international hospitals, to be trained in specialties demanded in Rwanda.

We have signed an agreement with the University of Rwanda and other national hospitals to teach doctors in the specialities we have in KFH.

What are some of the achievements you have registered so far?

Within a year, King Faisal hospital has turned profitable. There has also been staff optimization: Recruitment of medical specialists, nurses and maintenance staff.

Assistance activity has increased, there is also increase in accessibility on the side of patients because of the patient-centre culture.

There has been design of new spaces plan and implementation of training plan for nursing and medical staff.

Design and coordination of Telemedicine system, Improvement of patient flow system and new system for the dispensation of fungible supplies in theatre are some of the other achievements.