A team of US medical doctors, dubbed 'Team Heart' is in Rwanda for a two-week mission, during which they will perform cardiac surgery to 16 patients during the medical camp being held at Oshen King Faisal Hospital.
It is their 12th mission since the signing of a partnership with the Ministry of Health & Oshen King Faisal hospital started in 2007.
Dr Diane Gashumba, the Minister for Health, visited the hospital last week and witnessed the process through which the patients were being treated
Gashumba hailed Oshen's partnerships such as the one with Team Heart, saying they serve to not only save people's lives, especially those with cardiac complications, but also refine the experiences of local doctors.
"Our young doctors have an opportunity to learn from Team Heart. I am happy these partnerships are really focusing on capacity building. We really appreciate their commitment," Gashumba said.
Gashumba said that the government has a plan to train more doctors in a bid to bridge the skills gap in the sector.
"We have few doctors, we have a shortage of doctors, which is really a big issue, but we have a plan to train more doctors for the sustainability of our health services. The Government is really committed to invest in capacity building and whatever time it takes, we will do what it takes to have well trained medical doctors who can perform the same operations in the next five or ten years," she said.
Joaquin Bielsa, the Chief Executive Officer of Oshen King Faisal Hospital, said although the hospital's partnerships are more about treating patients, it is also a great opportunity for the hospital's doctors to learn from their counterparts on the mission.
"These missions are very important for patients, because the doctors on mission treat patients with critical health cases and they really play a key role in saving people's lives. Oshen King Faisal hospital always hosts these missions and I believe they are beneficial because they do not only benefit patients but also the doctors in terms of skills transfer," Bielsa said.
Ceeya Bollman, the Director and Co-founder of Team Heart, applauded Rwanda progress in prioritising people's lives, through partnerships with international medical experts.
"I feel that there is political will too. The Health ministry has supported our trip. We come for these missions mainly for the patients to return to their normal life. The patients themselves have the opportunity to benefit from our mission but skills transfer and education is also a great deal as we try to always work one-on-one with doctors from every level and train them while taking care of the patients," she said.
She added that; "Our partnership with OSHEN is an opportunity to expand so we will be ready to offer cardiac surgery maybe six to eight, or even ten times a year, working with locally trained Rwandan doctors that will be certified to do cardiac surgery."