Medical Volunteers Organization launched its first voluntary medical outreach program at Nyamata Hospital on 15 January, 2021 which lasted for two days. Five specialist Rwandan doctors—two gynecologists and Obstetricians, a specialist in Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT), a Pediatrician and a general surgeon—volunteered in the program and attended 43 patients.
Although the turnout of patients was small due to the prevention measures against the spread of Covid-19, the event was successful. Out of 43 patients, majority of them were treated and went back home, a small number was hospitalized while five patients were put on follow-up.
Maniraguha Janviere had come from Nyamata Sector in Bugesera District. She was diagnosed with Goiter ; a condition she had stayed with for so long due to lack of a specialist at Nyamata Hospital to sign on her transfer papers to undergo tests at a referral hospital. After meeting a specialist, she will now undergo tests at CHUK to determine whether she could be operated.
The Director General of Nyamata Hospital Dr. William Rutagengwa believes that this initiative will contribute to equitable access to specialized medical services in the rural areas without many patients having to go to referral hospitals. “This is a commendable initiative, it’s a good culture,” Dr. Rutagengwa said.
Dr. Jean-Marie Vianney Dushimiyimana, a specialist in Ear, Nose and Throat(ENT) volunteered in the medical outreach program at Nyamata Hospital. He urges other Rwandan medical practitioners to join the initiative to save lives.
“To all the Rwandan medical practitioners, I would like to challenge you to have the courage and reach out to the community and help improve the welfare of Rwandans. If we volunteer without expecting financial reward, there is a lot we can save in their lives,” Dr. Dushimiyimana said.
Although the inaugural event was a success, inadequate medical equipment, consumables and limited financial means to cater for transport and upkeep for the volunteering medical specialists were identified as the key challenges.