19 October 2018

Rwanda: Oshen-King Faisal, Spanish Hospital Ink Pediatrics Telemedicine Deal

Oshen-King Faisal Hospital has entered a long-term partnership with Barcelona-based Sant Joan de Déu Hospital (HSJD), the world's medical leader for mother and child care to cooperate in the fields of clinical, educational and treatment fields.

The agreement between both hospitals has been mediated by the Spanish firm Sphera Global Health Care, who are also implementing partnerships in more specialties with other international hospitals.

According to officials, this partnership is aimed at improving patient care through clinical management of pediatric services in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with critical and/or difficult conditions.

"This partnership will improve our patient care because it will virtually increase the number of specialists in pediatric services through specific teleconsulting channel and bringing patients and specialists together without necessarily meeting in person," Dr Edgar Kalimba, Director, Maternal, Child and women health at Oshen-KFH told The New Times.

Kalimba observed that although Rwanda is making strides in terms of training doctors and acquiring skills, the country is "way below" the World Health Organisation's recommended ratio in terms of population to doctor.

"For pediatrics, specifically, we do not have enough subspecialists just as the case in most of the medical fields. What happens is that general pediatricians are managing pediatric sub-specialty areas.

It is a challenging case and what this collaboration comes to address is linking us to the hospital that has over 70 pediatricians in the same hospital with all sub-specialty areas." He said.

Kalimba added that the pediatrics unit at King Faisal Hospiltal has got four fulltime pediatricians, two part-time neurologist and pediatric surgeon.

"Obviously a unit with four doctors and a unit with seventy doctors you can imagine the difference. But the hospital is doing a lot to get more doctors and more skills." He added.

Yesterday, when The New Times visited Oshen-King Faisal Hospital, two local specialists at were engaged in a teleconsulting conversation with specialists from Sant Joan de Déu Hospital (HSJD) on particular cases from which they would be able to treat patients in Kigali.

"Particularly today, we were discussing a case of a liver disease child, a case of endocrinology and immunology. This is extremely important because what we do in these sessions is that we discuss the case with specialist, after getting consent from the families of the patients, and they are able to give us their opinion and guidance.

It helps us to bridge the gap which obviously improves patient care and we also learn. It is skills development as well." Kalimba added.

Through this partnership, HSJD will contribute to improve the management of specialised clinical cases in Oshen- KFH, officials said.

The collaboration agreement stipulates that, HSJD will develop specialised capacity, focusing on teaching and research in its support strategy of improving quality of care for pediatrics in Rwanda.

"Through the establishment of a specific teleconsulting channel, the specialists of both tertiary academic institutions will discuss on clinical cases under the following subspecialties: Gastroenterology, pathology, Neurology, Pulmonology, Oncology, Cardiac surgery, nephrology, rheumatology, infectious diseases and critical care among others," Oshen-KFH stated.

In the upcoming months, Oshen- KFH will introduce a telemedicine approach through distribution of kits to various health centers that virtually connect small health facilities to specialists, enabling local nurses to easily get specialists opinion without necessarily moving from their places of work.

Oshen-KFH's Corporate Social Responsibility Manager, Andrea Malet, told The New Times that Telemedicine helps to reduce physician shortage globally allowing patients to access specialists from the international medical networks.

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