November 30, 2022
Two university hospitals in Kigali, Rwanda, have recently been recognized as WEO Centers of Training in GI Endoscopy: the King Faisal University Teaching Hospital and the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire De Kigali (CHUK).
Endoscopy services were started in Kigali in 2015 by Dr. Vincent Dusabejambo who also formed the Rwanda Endoscopy Society (RES). Every year since then (except for a break during COVID), RES has been holding the Rwanda Endoscopy Week conference, attended by national and international faculty. Besides lectures, several procedures (diagnostic and therapeutic upper and lower GI endoscopies, ERCPs, EUS) are performed live during these events.
Nurses, technicians, and biomedical staff from the US also attend these meetings to train local staff. Currently around 30 doctors in Rwanda are performing endoscopies at various locations
In addition to training local Rwandan doctors, the RES has also trained several doctors from other regions of Africa. After several years of preparation and planning by the Rwandan Ministries of Health and Education, a formal 2-year GI fellowship program with a structured curriculum has been started.
The program director is Hanna Aberra, MD, PhD, and GI faculty from King Faisal Hospital and CHUK are involved in training. This is also supported, through a memorandum of understanding, by the GI Rising Foundation run by Steve Bensen, MD from Dartmouth Hancock Medical Center and by Kulwinder Dua, MD from the Medical College of Wisconsin. Lectures based on the curriculum are given either in-person or via Zoom from international centers. Besides endoscopy, these also cover topics in other areas such as hepatology, IBD, and functional gut disorders. Hands-on training is provided by local endoscopists and visiting overseas faculty (1 or 2 faculty can be present in-person for a week or two every month). Currently, all GI endoscopy procedures including ERCP, EUS, and pediatric endoscopy are being performed and training is also being provided to GI nurses and technicians.
Dr. Kulwinder Dua, Chair of the WEO Outreach Committee has visited King Faisal Hospital and CHUK several times over the last year and participated in the training program, including providing hands-on training to the fellows and the faculty. Recently, Dr. Lars Aabakken, Co-Chair of the WEO Africa Outreach Committee has also visited and evaluated these centers. As these hospitals are providing excellent endoscopic education and can be important centers for training not only local doctors but also others from underserved areas of Africa, WEO recently recognized them as WEO Centers of Training in a ceremony held on October 28, 2022. This event was attended by several dignitaries including the Minister of Health for Rwanda, Dr. Daniel Ngamije, the Executive Secretary of the Human Resources and Health Secretariat, Dr. Patrick Ndimubanzi, the Dean of the School of Medicine and Pharmacology of Rwanda, the Chairperson of the Rwanda Medical and Dental Council, Rwandan Head of the Department of Medicine, the Chief Executive Officer of the King Faisal Hospital, the Director-General of the CHUK hospital, and the Commandant of the Rwanda Military Hospital, the Director of the GI Fellowship program, and Kulwinder Dua as Chair of the WEO Outreach Committee.