Commission to screen former combatants

The National Demobilization and Re-integration Commission (NDRC) yesterday started a screening exercise of physical injuries of about 500 ex-combatants.According to Dr Theobald Hategekimana, the Director General of Kigali University Teaching Hospital (CHUK), 300 demobilized soldiers were expected to turn up for the first round of the screening.
John Sayinzoga, the head of the demobilization commission talking to former soldiers before going for screening. The New Times / Timothy Kisambira
John Sayinzoga, the head of the demobilization commission talking to former soldiers before going for screening. The New Times / Timothy Kisambira

The National Demobilization and Re-integration Commission (NDRC) yesterday started a screening exercise of physical injuries of about 500 ex-combatants.

According to Dr Theobald Hategekimana, the Director General of Kigali University Teaching Hospital (CHUK), 300 demobilized soldiers were expected to turn up for the first round of the screening.

Screening helps doctors know how urgent the injury is, which medication is best suited and which doctor is well placed to attend to it, according to Hategekimana.

“They will later on undergo surgery, because most of them either have bullets lodged in their bodies which need to be removed or generally need treatment that is done after surgery,” he said.

The screening exercise follows a prior categorizing of injured ex-combatants which was conducted by the commission in 2008.

This exercise saw 2,534 injured ex-combatants from around the country registered and put into four categories, which varied depending on how critical the injuries were.

Category One includes people with very severe injuries, like those that are totally paralyzed.  The last category, Four, includes those who had slight damages but need treatment.

Some of them were given clutches, wheel chairs, or attended to in other ways, and the 500 out of the total remaining will be the next beneficiaries.

John Sayinzoga, the head of the commission, said that those already treated have fully recovered while others are steadily recovering.

“We have a team to follow up on those we treat, and most of them have healed totally. Others are also progressing well, and those who require further medication are also hospitalized until they recover.”

One of the beneficiaries, Innocent Ndayambaje, a former rebel, and current resident of Nyabihu District, told The New Times: “The treatment given to me saved my life. Personally I did not have even a penny for treatment yet I had suffered very many bullet wounds when I was still in the bush”.

Boniface Munyakazi, another beneficiary, recommends that the commission increases its follow up on some demobilized injured soldiers who have no way of reaching hospitals.

Sayinzoga also said that the demobilized soldiers are equipped with vocation skills of their choice after recovery, to help them earn their living.

The beneficiaries will be treated from Kanombe Hospital, King Faisal hospital, and CHUK.

The whole medical budget, including transport to and from their homes is catered for by the government through the NDRC.

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