KIGALI - Heart patients who missed out in last year’s charitable surgeries at Kigali’s King Faisal Hospital may have cause to smile after officials announced a similar operation will be conducted come April, this year. The surgical treatment to be conducted by experts from the US was announced on Tuesday by the head of Rwanda Heart Foundation (RHF), Dr Joseph Mucumbitsi. He said that 15 short-listed adult patients are to benefit from the exercise that follows one involving 28 children and four adults conducted in October-November last year by a team of surgeons from Australia and Belgium.
“With such charitable medical assistance, it is now possible for those patients to be saved and get back to their normal lives,” he said.
Mucumbitsi, who also heads the Cardiology Department at King Faisal Hospital, added: “Our strategy for tackling heart diseases is long-term. There has been progress but I am not complacent.”
He however expressed concern over lack of adequate funding to help cut down the large numbers of heart patients currently on waiting lists (for surgery).
“Hadn’t it been for financial constraints (under heart surgery partnership deal with Save a Child’s Heart (SACH) in Israel), we would have sent more children there for operation,” he said.
The government is supposed to pay half of the charges required for surgery of all patients that would be sent to Wolfson Medical Center in Tel-Aviv, Israel, for surgery.
In August, payments were made for two children worth $5,000 (about Frw2.7m) each, while the other two were carried out free of charge.
And in the same month, four Rwandan children suffering from heart-related diseases were transferred to Israel where they were successfully operated upon at the Wolfson Medical Centre.
The quartet, all aged below 15 years, were the first batch of children to be operated upon at the Israeli medical centre through the SACH partnership.
The move followed last March’s visit by a SACH medical team to King Faisal Hospital where they diagnosed more than a dozen children with heart diseases that needed medical operation.
The surgeries were jointly conducted by Mucumbitsi and his Israeli counterpart Dr Akiva Tamir from Wolfson Medical Centre.