At least 64 patients have benefited from free surgery during a medical exercise at the University Teaching Hospital of Kigali (Chuk), under the Rotary Medical Mission which started last Saturday.
The 10-day exercise is targetting 300 patients with different ailments including urology, ophthalmology, orthopedic, plastic, dental, maxillofacial, gynecology and other general surgeries.
The 16-member team of medics from India is in the country under the auspices of the Rotary Club Rwanda.
“Because of unavoidable circumstances, we found ourselves spending more time on certain patients than expected but we are still certain that we shall reach our target, since we dealt with the difficult cases first,” said Rajendra K.Saboo, the former president of Rotary International, who is also a member of the mission.
He cited a gap in the number of local surgeons, pointing out that there is need for the government to train more.
Dr Theobald Hategekimana, the Director General of Chuk, lauded the visiting team, saying it had helped reduce the backlog of patients.
“The government has partnered with a couple of American universities, a seven-year programme to train about 5,000 new surgeons, and we believe this will reduce the vacuum,” he said.
Maria Rose Umutesi, a 38-year-old woman who underwent orthopedic surgery to mend a fractured left arm, after a motor accident, expressed gratitude to the medics.
“I could barely move my arm. The pain was unbearable. I am glad it’s possible now,” she said.
According to Hamiss Birindiro, the Chuk chief debt recoverer, the beneficiaries were saved a huge financial burden.
For instance, the cost of orthopedic surgery for a person without health insurance cover ranges between Rwf350,000 and 400,000, he noted.