10 April 2012

Rwanda: Gov't to Hire U.S Medical Dons

Government will next financial year acquire at least 100 medical professors from top US varsities to teach local medics, in order to bridge capacity gaps within the health sector.

This was said by Arthur Asiimwe, the Director General of Rwanda Health Communication Centre, in an interview with The New Times.

"They will be hired under a project dubbed Human Resource for Health, which will cost $34 million," said Asiimwe, adding that the programme is supported by the US government.

According to him, the dons will be working in teaching hospitals in the country and will mainly be charged with training young practitioners.

"They will also work closely with available specialists to improve their skills and will definitely be treating because the nature of their work is hands-on," Asiimwe said.

The dons, according to the official, will be selected from at least 17 major medical schools in the United States.

Meanwhile, as the country continues to narrow the skills gap among local medical practitioners, the Ministry of Health says the number of referrals to foreign countries has reduced by over 80 per cent.

Most referrals, according to Asiimwe, have been to India.

He said Rwandan medical students were also being sent abroad for specialised studies in order to boost the workforce within the health sector.

"We currently have 100 doctors abroad, pursuing different specialised courses in medicine. We are not only trying to build local capacities in terms of human resource but also equipment, so we can ably handle most of the health complications within the country," Asiimwe said.

He added the Ministry of Health has a target to provide health care for all cases within the country, thus the effort to educate Rwandans to become specialists in the different fields of medicine.

Among the areas where specialised medical personnel are still lacking, is in cardiology.

Currently, there are only five cardiologists in the country, four working in public hospitals and a private practitioner.

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