The Army Week activities which began on July 1 came to an end yesterday with over 4,000 people benefitting from free medical treatment.
Among the health-related activities conducted during the Army Week, were opthalmology, hypertension, dental and kidney treatment.
According to Lt. Col. Dr. John Nkurikiye, an ophthalmic surgeon who operated over 90 patients, Gisagara and Bugesera were the areas of focus.
“We worked with the Local Government ministry to identify the most vulnerable and underserved areas and found Gisagara as one of them. That’s why we chose to extend free medical services to them and some from Bugesera,” Nkurikiye said.
He noted that the activities were a success.
“The population was very responsive as people turned up for medical checkup and treatment in bigger numbers than we expected. The biggest number of patients was those that needed dental treatment and cataract extraction surgery.
Those with eye problems were mostly the elderly who couldn’t afford the surgery costs,” Nkurikiye added.
He noted that the Army Week is an opportunity for the Ministry of Defence to reach out to the people and make an impact on the population.
“One of our constitutional obligations is to participate in the socio-economic development of Rwandans.
We plan it around Liberation Day because people need full liberation from diseases, hunger and poverty among others. So, this is our contribution to the community’s freedom and welfare,” he added.
A free-eye surgery beneficiary, Elias Ntabomvura, said that the Army Week was a good initiative since it reaches out to the poor who might have not afforded medical attention.
Besides the local civilian population, other beneficiaries were ex-combatants, mainly those with permanent impairments derived during the 1990-94 liberation struggle, where the RDF personnel repaired feeder roads leading to their settlements in different parts of Kigali city.