30 Heart Patients to Get free Heart Surgery

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By Denyse Tuyishime

This festive season will start with smile on faces of 30 Rwandan children whose hearts will be beating normally, something their parents wouldn’t think, can happen one day.

Chain of Hope, a Belgium foundation that brings together experts from all over the world to treat heart diseases among children has started its annual medical camp to Rwanda.

The team comprised of 50 medical staff including nurses, anesthetists, surgeons, critical care physicians, theater nurses and technicians are doing open heart treatment to 30 most vulnerable children at King Faisal Hospital.

Every year since 2008, the Ministry of Health selects children that are most vulnerable financially and with serious heart cases to be treated free of charge under Chain of Hope partnership.

The partnership between Chain of Hope and the Government of Rwanda – through Ministry of Health started in 1997. It was in several capacities, but the exercise to treat children in Rwanda started in 2008. Diane Kaneza, the King Faisal Customers officer told KT Press; “the contribution by Chain of Hope in Rwanda is commendable because it saves children who otherwise would not find means to go for treatment abroad.”

There is currently no heart surgeon in Rwanda. A couple of them are expected to graduate from several universities across the world.  “We are getting expatriates to treat several cases locally while other cases are referred to hospitals abroad for treatment,” said Kaneza.

“While waiting for Rwandan heart surgeons to graduate, we are focusing on possible infrastructures that will go with heart surgery.”

Beside Chain of Hope, other partners are pledging support to Rwanda in areas of treatment of sensitive human organs including the heart.

On November, 29, a Switzerland pharmaceutical plant Novartis signed a memorandum of understanding with Rwanda, committing to supply Rwanda 15 kinds of medicines for treating heart, cancer, respiratory diseases and diabetes on a considerable discount.

Rwanda is the third country to sign this memorandum of understanding with this company, an arrangement called Novartis Access after Kenya and Ethiopia. Under this partnership, about 1000 patients get medicines every month.

It contributes to the strategy of the Rwandan government to increase investment in prevention, diagnosis and treatment of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). First Novartis Access product deliveries are expected in early 2017.

Today, Nairobi Hospital also joined the board of Rwanda health partners. The hospital has announced a partnership with the Rwandan Government to provide low-cost cancer treatment to needy patients.

The partnership will be implemented by Partners in Health, an already esteemed partner of the country at the Cancer center located in Butaro, Burera district, Northern.

This will enable between 100 and 150 Rwandan cancer patients access treatment every year.





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