King Faisal Hospital (KFH) will this year employ up to 15 foreign doctors to address shortage of medical surgeons.
The national referral hospital has moved to address challenges facing it after its Angolan management company – Oshen Healthcare – was kicked out by the government last year over poor service delivery.
The hospital plans to commence performing complex surgeries next year to position itself as the first hospital in the country to provide transplant surgery. Dr Edgar Kalimba, acting chief executive of the hospital, told Rwanda Today that by 2024 there will be no need for Rwandans to seek transplant surgery aboard.
“We are changing everything at the hospital while constructing more patient wards to be able to provide world class care to reduce Rwandan population seeking healthcare abroad,” said Dr Kalimba.
He said among medical specialists to be imported in the first phase are gastroenterologist, neurologist, orthopedician, neurosurgeon, cardiologist, oncologist, cardiothoracic surgeon and liver surgeon.
He further noted that are a few Rwandan medical specialists especially in the fields of endocrinology, nephrology and gastroenterology, which calls going for foreign specalists.
Dr Kalimba said to improve provision of quality healthcare to patients, the hospital will continue hiring international experts who will also train the local doctors in their respective fields.
“We are looking at priority health fields that don’t have even one specialist with the majority having less than one expert who can conduct adverse surgical operations,” said Dr Kalimba.
“The demand for medical specialists is high since they are unavailable locally. This makes people to seek health services abroad but we are certain after getting them locally most complex surgical and transplants will soon be done here,” he said.
King Faisal boss said in 2022 the referral hospital will start conducting kidney and heart transplant surgeries, which will reduce the number of people seeking services abroad.
He further said the hospital already has 40 part-time experts who work at district hospitals, and provincial referral hospitals.
The services that require more experts are internal medicine such as kidney ailments, gastrointestinal and blood-related diseases.
King Faisal’s turnaround strategy also involves increasing the number of intensive care unit beds. Specialised complex services. In addition, the hospital will step up specialised complex services such as cardiac surgery and oncology.
However, critics noted that high costs of such services will make not accessible by ordinary citizens.
Steven Mushabe said that unless the government subsidises the complex surgeries or transplants, the services will be only for the rich.
“If only some medication for chronic diseases, for instance, insulin for the diabetics is still not covered on the universal insurance mituelle de santé how do you expect the transplant to be offered on insurance,” said Mr Mushabe.”
“It is very important and great for our country to be able to perform complex surgeries but also this service will be beneficial all if they can be covered on universal insurance,” he added.
alim Abdul, another resident in Kigali said that people will be surprised to find that the actual costs of the services locally will be equal or expensive than going abroad.
“Otherwise if well thought about while considering the different categories of Rwandan in terms of finance, the uptake will benefit many who would surfer seeking health service abroad,” he said.