KIGALI - About 30 people suffering from diverse body deformations will by the end of this week have undergone plastic surgery performed by a team of visiting American doctors at Kibagabaga Hospital, Kigali.
So far, 26 patients with cleft lips, cleft palate, burns, cysts, keloids and scars have benefited from the surgeries performed by a team of voluntary medical experts from Portland, Oregon USA, assisted by their Rwandan counterparts.
The four medics brought into the country by Health Development Initiative-Rwanda (HDI) is led by Dr. Karl Wustrack, an expert in plastic surgery. The team has for a week been correcting children and adults with various body deformations, free of charge.
According to Diane Wustrack, the Medics record keeper, this is the second time the group has performed plastic surgery in Rwanda through the HDI coordination.
“We are only here for a week---we bring our own supplies and we leavve what we don’t use here in the hospital. We are a small team but we do a lot. We conduct the surgeries between 7am to 6pm,” Mrs. Wustrack said.
She noted that the beneficiaries of the surgeries are people who otherwise cannot afford to pay for them. It is estimated that the surgeries and skin grafts performed daily would each cost US$10,000 if the patients were to pay for them.
In an interview with The New Times, Dr. Wustrack said that he felt compelled to act by treating disadvantaged people who cannot afford such treatment.
According to the Executive Director of HDI, Dr. Aflodis Kagaba, the Medics were in the country last year in May as part of the Medical and Technical Support programme of the health initiative.
“Under this programme, we invite several medical teams to come and work here in Rwanda. Next week, we have a team that will be doing orthopaedic surgery at Kanombe Hospital and they will start on Monday,” he revealed.
“In May, we have a team that will be coming to carry out cervical cancer screening; basically, this is part of our bigger programme. We interest medical teams from developed countries to come and volunteer for several weeks,” Dr. Kagaba said.
He noted that the experts provide medical services to people who cannot afford the specialised services, and also offer training to Rwandan doctors working alongside them.
“As they are working, there is good interaction between Rwandan physicians and nurses, bringing in the element of training in terms of skills. They also donate equipment and other supplies needed for surgery,” Dr. Kagaba said.