Rwanda, a country located in east Africa, has only three neurologists for a population of more than one crore. The country which has abject poverty and a history of genocide has very poor health care services.
Doctors from Maharashtra took up this challenge and went to operate on patients suffering from severe chronic illness in the country.
Last week a team of 10 doctors, along with five volunteers, who came from Kigali, the capital of Rwanda where they offered their voluntary medical services to the needy patients from Rwanda.
The initiative was by Rotary International and was named as ‘Rotary Medical Mission Kigali Rwanda 2017’.
“It is a country with abject poverty. Also, as the doctor patient ratio is poor, the waiting period for the patient to get treated is also more. We have treated patients with big tumours in the brain. We do not get to see such cases in India, as patients here get timely treatment and so tumour does not get that big. Also, while talking with the patients, we noticed that they believe in Indian medical system,” said consultant neurosurgeon from Thane, Dr Hrushikesh Kharosekar, who was part of the mission.
“It was my first experience of offering service at some other country. There are needy people outside our country also and after this experience I would like to offer more such voluntary service in future,” said, Dr Suhasini Shah, Director of Precision Campshafts from Solapur.
She added, “People from Rwanda do not want to the history of genocide to be repeated. The visit has changed my perception about Africa.”
Dr Shonali Valsangkar, who is chief neurosurgeon at SP Institute of Neuroscience, Solapur, while sharing her experience, said, “There is dearth of medical facilities in the country. Treatment is expensive. We performed many challenging cases which we did not see in India. We trained doctors there. There is still a lot to be done when it comes to training the doctors in Rwanda. Working at any new place is thrill for any doctor. It was a challenge for us when a patient did not know English.”
Dr Rajiv Pradhan, who was the project chairman and team leader for the mission and who hails from Solapur, said, “The team performed 50 surgeries in urology and 18 neurosurgeries in ten days. Our mission also included providing training to the local doctors. A lot of medical supplies were also provided to government hospitals in the country. The health minister of the country also came to see our work and appreciated our efforts. We were happy when we saw a smile on the patients face.”