At least 1,700 Genocide survivors in Ruhango District are set to get free medical treatment during the Army Week that was launched yesterday.
The Army Week is an annual voluntary exercise conducted by the Rwanda Defence Forces during which vulnerable sections of the population benefit from a range of services that include medical care, construction and donations.
The Ruhango clinic, dubbed Phase I Outreach Exercise, is being carried out at two sites, Kinazi and Gitwe hospitals. It runs until Friday.
Various ailments, including kidney complications, trauma, plastic surgery, oral, kidney, internal, orthopaedics and eye diseases will be treated.
Those with complex conditions will be referred to Rwanda Military Hospital, Kanombe, for further medical care.
Rashidi Kabano, 73, one of the beneficiaries from Ruhango Sector, said his hip bone was broken during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and has never fully recovered.
“The Interahamwe militia attacked the area where I had taken refuge and hit me with clubs. I fortunately survived when RPF secured the country, but I can’t walk using my left leg,” he said.
“They (RDF medics) have scanned my leg and after giving me a prosthetic limb, I hope I will manage to step on the ground to relieve the other leg,” he said.
A total of 700 patients have been registered in Ruhango District, but within the last two days the number has more than doubled.
Lt Col Frank Rwema, the head of the medical specialist team carrying out the activities, said the outreach programme is having a positive impact.
“From the start of the week, we treated survivors with bone diseases, wounds and trauma. Some were given prosthetic limbs and this will change their lives,” he said.
Dr Alvera Mukabaramba, the minister of state in charge of community development and social affairs at the Ministry of Local Government, lauded the army’s outreach activities which she said was a sign of care.
“The survivors were left with various problems, including bodily wounds as well as incurable diseases and trauma from the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. The RDF did not only stop the Genocide but also handles the aftermath by following up survivors,” she said.
Mukabaramba said it was realised that all Genocide survivors could not access necessary treatment in health centres and hospitals given the numbers so the army doctors came in handy.
The outreach activities have been carried out in 25 districts. The remaining districts are Rubavu, Ngororero, Gicumbi, Muhanga and Kamonyi.