The Ministry of Health has launched a fresh drive to see that district hospitals are staffed with specialized medical practitioners, on top of general practitioners who are predominantly running these facilities.
The new programme launched Monday, will see specialists from different university hospitals as well as private ones make periodic week-long rotational visits to different district hospitals to reinforce the medics at these hospitals and at the same time train them.
Launching the programme on Monday at Shyira District Hospital in Nyabihu District, Dr. Diane Gashumba the Minister for Health said that the programme is in line with solving the challenge of limited specialists in district hospitals.
She said it will be a continuous programme as the University of Rwanda churns out more specialists to work in district hospitals.
“Doctors are still few in Rwanda especially specialists. We are working with the University of Rwanda so that we increase the number of the specialists to come and treat in these hospitals.
But before we get enough numbers, this program will see that those in the university hospitals and private hospitals will come and help their counterparts,” she said.
According to Gashumba, the program will continue for a long time as specialists will be taking a week in each hospital after which they will go back to their respective hospitals, and return after a period of two months.
The programme has started operating in Shyira, Musanze, Rubavu, Nyamata, and Bushenge district hospitals.
These five hospitals will be visited by specialists from Kigali University Teaching Hospital, University Teaching Hospital of Butare, Kanombe Military Hospital as well as private hospitals like Hopital la Croix du Sud.
“And we believe that with the partnership between the private sector and the university hospitals, they will be able to rotate around all the hospitals in the country as the university of Rwanda will be working to give us more specialists to work in district hospitals,” added Gashumba.
The visits started with gynecologists and pediatricians but as time goes on, more different specialists will be coming in. Besides treating patients and giving training to their counterparts, the specialists will also be looking into the files of patients, see the cases of patients that were not treated well, find out why and help solve them.
Dr. Jean Nyirinkwaya, the CEO and owner of Hopital la croix du sud, a private hospital in Kigali said that the program is very important since it will help the private and government medics work together for the interest of the people.
“The doctors in private and government hospitals treat the same people. And so, we need to work together. It will help the government and private hospitals to feel they are one and this is very important,” he said.
According to Theoneste Rubanzabigwi, the Director General of Shyira District hospital, there is only one specialist yet they have to be eight. So he believes the program will help reach patients at the hospital that need specialists and so save them from travelling to Kigali, spend money and time.