KIGALI - Partners in Health (PIH) in partnership with the Rwanda Development Board (RDB), on Thursday evening, graduated 12 students after they successfully completed a training programme on e-Health: Software Development and Implementation (EHSDI).
The nine-month intensive mentor-driven course for Computer Science graduates was developed to address the need for local software developers who could support the large-scale implementation of electronic medical records systems in Rwanda.
The graduates are being recruited as software developers and engineers, both in Rwanda, and by international organizations working within the country as well as abroad.
According to Dr. Peter Drobac, PIH Country Director, the graduates have gained valuable experience which will promote Rwanda as a source of skilled software developers and experts in electronic healthcare.
“Being bi-lingual they are a considerable asset to organizations working in French speaking countries such as Haiti and Burundi,” he added.
Drobac added that the first batch of students enrolled in December 2008 with 10 students selected from local universities but they increased to 12.
He stressed that, students were selected after a rigorous process of interviews. Over 160 students had applied for the program.
“It became quite competitive this year after the successful progamme of the first year because students are gaining powerful skills in programming and there are tremendous opportunities for them in Rwanda and outside,” he said.
“Students were taught web design, Java programming, web application development, databases and medical informatics amongst other things”.
Officiating at the ceremony, David Kanamugire the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of ICT in the President’s Office, hailed the students for having successfully completed the course.
“You have gained the skills so start looking for means of using them to solve the complex challenges in the field of e-health,” he told the graduates.
He added that, they are planning to increase the number because what they have achieved with the previous intakes is a great demonstration that the programme can be scaled up.
Next year the course will be introduced at the Kigali Institute of Science and Technology so that it can be a part of the new e-Health Centre of Excellence that has been set up there.
The following year it will become a postgraduate course and will be entirely integrated within the institution. This will enable the course to be self-sustaining and even attract students from outside Rwanda.
The graduates were awarded with certificates.
PIH is a US based international NGO that started operating in Rwanda in 2005. It works with three district hospitals and 30 health centres.