Govt plans to build robotics cancer training centre

Monday March 18 2019


The Butaro Cancer Centre of Excellence where patients currently receive medical care. PHOTO | FILE  

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Rwanda is set to unveil the first training and research centre for minimally invasive surgery for cancer patients from next year, with funding from the France-based Research Institute against Digestive Cancer (IRCAD), and partners.

Construction works will take up the Rwf6.2 billion ($7 million) funding from IRCAD, government officials said. Rwanda will provide the land for construction.

It is expected that the centre will help cut the waiting list of patients seeking surgery, and reduce the risks from complications.

The centre will also train local and continental medical workers on minimally invasive surgery — carried out using advanced technology.

“It will be the first centre in Africa using technology that does not require extensively opening up of the patient’s body,” said Malick Kayumba, the spokesman of the Rwanda Biomedical Centre.

“The centre will train surgeons from all over the continent. The world’s best surgeons will jet in for knowledge transfer.” Mr Kayumba said that the Ministry of Health is working with the Rwanda Development Board, the University of Rwanda and physicians from hospitals to offer the initial training for local medics at Masaka Hospital ahead of launch of the centre.


The advanced robotic system to be used at the centre offers doctors greater control and vision, allowing them to perform safe, less invasive and precise surgical procedures.

“With this technology, the surgery is infection-free, reduces haemorrhage and patients can be discharged within a short time after surgery; it also leaves a smaller scar,” said David Kamanda, the project manager.

Currently cancer patients are referred to the Butaro Cancer Center of Excellence. It offers a range of services including basic imaging, pathology-based diagnosis, outpatient screening and consultation, selective surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and palliative care However, there is a scarcity of pathologists in the country while the labs have limited capabilities.