Rwanda promotes family medicine

Family medicine is a medical speciality that provides comprehensive medical care to individuals and families.

Family medicine is a medical speciality that provides comprehensive medical care to individuals and families.

This discipline promotes a close doctor-patient relationship of trust and confidence, continuous care to all members of the family, regardless of age or problem, active involvement by the doctors in the community and interaction with their patients.

Rwanda is only one of many African countries that are in the process of developing the speciality of Family Medicine at the National University of Rwanda.

There are already well established programs in universities in South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, and Sudan, and developing programs in the DRC, Tanzania, and many others. 

These programs have banded together for collaboration and interchange by the Dept. of Family Medicine of Ghent University in Belgium through an organization called PrimaFamed, funded by a grant from the European Union. 

Together, they are developing a consensus on the profile of the African Family Physician,which is distinctly different from Family Physicians from other continents.

The National University of Rwanda Faculty of Medicine has been actively developing a Master of Medicine program in Family and Community Medicine for the past 2 years. 

The 4- year program has been approved and supported by the Ministry of Health, and now has 7 postgraduate students who enrolled in August 2008. 

Upon completion, the students will be able to apply sound preventive health measures in the community and direct the team of community health workers that now are a major force in rural Rwandan health care.

80% of their training will take place in one of several district hospitals known for their quality of patient care to better equip them to deal with the most common health issues of a community. 

At the request of the Ministry of Health, the program will progressively increase the number students to a maximum of 20 students per year.

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