How Rwanda, China ties have impacted health sector

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How Rwanda, China ties have impacted health sector
How Rwanda, China ties have impacted health sector

Africa-PressRwanda. Next month, Rwanda and China will celebrate 50 years of diplomatic ties. The health sector has been one of the various fields in which the two countries have forged a strong partnership.

For instance, since 1982 China has been sending a group of at least 15 medical doctors every year. In addition to this, Rwanda has been a recipient of health sector-oriented grants from Beijing, the most notable one being the $10 million Masaka Hospital, which started its operations in 2011.

This year’s group of 15 doctors include surgeons, dentists, anesthetists, orthopedists, obstetrics, and gynaecologists, and were dispatched to Masaka and Kibungo hospitals.

Speaking to The New Times, Rwandan and Chinese doctors from Masaka Hospital, shared their experiences of working together and how it has impacted the health sector.

Jean Damascène Habimfura, Director General of Masaka Hospital, said they welcomed the support the doctors from China bring to the hospital, especially in training young Rwandan doctors.

“In just the past year they trained almost 25 of our own doctors who include interns because they are professionals, the skills they equip them with are very crucial and this improves the medical field of the country,” he said.

“With this good partnership with our two countries we expect more doctors in the next year, that will include paediatricians among others, and this will help us train more doctors in different fields and increase the numbers of professional doctors in the country,” he added.

Dr Yao Wu, Orthopedist and Head of the China medical team that has been in Rwanda since December 2020, gave insights on what drives the many teams of doctors to come to Rwanda every year.

“When we were in China we heard about doctors coming to Rwanda to offer their services, and those who came back had positive feedback, and that is what encouraged us to come and help the people of Rwanda and share our experiences in the medical field,” he said.

Dr Yao commended the organized medical system of Rwanda, “it is good to see how patients have doctors right from health centres and can be transferred in case their conditions get worse, and in addition to that the insurance is perfect, where even the poorest in the country can receive medical care free of charge.”

Dr Wenhui Yang, a gynaecologist who has been in the country for two years, said: “When I first came to Rwanda it was a great experience and I decided to come back, language is one of the challenges but Rwandan doctors help us in translating for us and making the patients comfortable and it is through this kind of teamwork that we are able to treat our patients and help them.”

Dr Marie Aimée Uwiragiye, head of the surgical team, hailed the efforts and contribution the Chinese doctors bring to the team but also in treating the patients.

“We learn a lot from the doctors in operation theatres but also in treating the patients, we receive over 250 patients a day and we properly treat them and they go home without needing to go to a referral hospital, for example in orthopaedic surgery where we fix broken bones or help people who had accidents, it is something we can now do well that we have learnt from them,” she said.

Uwiragiye added that with the help of the Chinese team, the hospital has reduced the overloading of referral hospitals like Kanombe or CHUK, where it took months for patients to get there, adding that they can treat the patients themselves in just a month.

Dr Kai Feng, the team translator, said they will expand cooperation and carry out the exchange of information on public health between the two countries and that they will continue to donate medical supplies and medicines to other health facilities as well.

“For the past 40 years, China has sent 258 doctors to Rwanda and in the future, more doctors will come, this year it was not easy due to the Covid-19 pandemic but it did not stop us instead we worked with the local doctors to curb the virus with the help of the Rwandan Government that did and is still doing an impeccable job in fighting the virus,” he said. “We are now in discussions with the Ministry of Health about increasing the departments of the medical team according to the hospital needs, and maybe in future have Rwandan doctors go to China to share their experiences too.”

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