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Ministry of health has commended the University Central Hospital of Kigali (CHUK) for their problem solving initiative of inventing an outreach surgical program that reaches out to district and referral hospitals, to reduce the pending list of surgical lifesaving interventions.
“This is a great exemplary initiative that all referral hospitals should consider. It’s rewarding going down to the grass-root patients to provide the awaited surgeries at the lowest cost possible,” commended State Minister for Health, Dr. Patrick Ndimubanzi.
CHUK closed the most recent surgical outreach week where 120 patients were given orthopaedic and general surgeries at Ruhengeri Hospitals. The continuous outreach program reached over 4450 patients since June 2015.
Aiming at decrease the waiting queue of surgical patients referred to CHUK, three sites were utilised for the three month pilot phase where 2174 people got surgery from Ruhengeri, Rwamagana, and Ngoma hospitals respectively.
“When we meet people where they are, it saves them the cost of getting to CHUK and also gives them a chance to get the much needed surgeries at the opportune time,” Dr Arcade Rudakemwa, an anaesthesiologist from CHUK.
“The outreach program moves towards patients to operate on them near their homes and relatives, takes advantage of the theatre space and hospital wards in provincial and district hospitals and transfer s knowledge to local staff for a better management of patients in the future,” adds Rudakemwa.
This surgical outreach program beat the odds of using minimum infrastructure and small staff for great results.
“This team at least operated on at least 17 patients per day, it was quite a job that needed dedication and concentration,” said Dr Léon Ngezahayo, the Director of Clinical Services at Ruhengeri Hospital.
Meanwhile, grateful patients hailed the surgical outreach program for restoring hope and life.
“When I was transferred from Ngororero for a stomach surgery, I had no idea the medical experts would find me this near to home and this soon. I hail the government of Rwanda and the ministry of health for such initiatives that cater for the vulnerable people,” said Jean damascene Sempabuka, after his operation.
“I got a throat surgery. It was quick and I was surrounded by my family. I also don’t think I would be in position to foot the Kigali upkeep expenses if it were to be done in Kigali,” said Zilbah Nyirabahutu,a patient from Musanze.
54 year old Nyirabahutu said life was quite hard before the surgery.
“I couldn’t breathe, but now I breath. I spent more than Rwf 40,000 on local herbs with hopes they would help but it was all in vain. I am indeed grateful,” says Nyirabahutu.