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Referred to as the Land of a Thousand Hills, Rwanda has had a turbulent history, culminating in the 1994 genocide that claimed the lives of almost 1 million Rwandans in just 100 days. The country has made great strides in their recovery; however there is still a lot work to be done to strengthen Rwanda’s healthcare system.
In a country of over ten million people, only a few orthopedic surgeons exist. This has vast implications in a country where most people engage in manual labor to feed their families and ensure that they do not fall further into poverty. Furthermore, it is estimated that nearly 400 children are born with clubfoot in Rwanda each year. Babies born with clubfoot in industrialized countries are treated soon after birth when their tendons and ligaments are still very flexible. Unfortunately for children in Rwanda, treatment is not available at birth. When left untreated, clubfoot congenital deformity results in sever disability, social stigma and isolation.
GHI’s Step in a New Direction Program in Rwanda is focused on building the countries capacity to provide orthopedic care; specifically strengthening orthopedic surgery services at Mugonero Hospital and providing corrective surgeries for children suffering from clubfoot.
Disabilities and injuries which would be quickly addressed in the developed world are simply left untreated in Rwanda; GHI is working to change that reality.
“I was shocked when I first saw Emmanuel's feet. He suffered from a severe form of bilateral clubfoot which had never been treated or corrected - only endured. I was part of a Centura Health team of volunteers working at Mugonero Hospital in Rwanda when I first met Emmanuel. Since that day, Global Health Initiatives, through the financial support of generous donors, has funded many clubfoot surgeries for children like Emmanuel.” - Greg Hodgson, GHI Director
The medical mission project in Rwanda is open to any health care professionals who are interested in going. Limited non-clinical activities are also available for spouses and teenage children of participants.
To apply, select an option below:
The project will last 12 days, including travel. Here is an outline of the trip schedule:
At this point, the trip will cost about $900 per person (including lodging based on double occupancy, meals, local transportation, and emergency medical insurance) plus airfare. The biggest cost is airfare, and that can vary between $2,400 and $2,600 depending on when the ticket is booked.
For those interested, here are several optional tourist excursions:
A valid passport is required for entry into Rwanda. Be sure your passport does not expire within six months of returning to the U.S. If you travel to Kenya after the mission week, Kenya requires a visa which costs $50 and is available at the airport in Nairobi.
In case of emergency, a copy of each participant's passport is kept at the Centura Health administrative office during the length of the trip. It is also highly recommended that each participant carry a photocopy of his or her passport on the trip.
Lodging and meals for the entire mission project are included in the trip costs. We will be staying at guesthouses at Mugonero Hospital. The rooms have two or three beds each, are clean, and most have private bathrooms.
Meals are also provided and will be eaten at the hospital. In honor of our sponsors' health principles, no alcohol will be served during meals that are provided. Alcohol is not permitted on the hospital campus or in the guest houses.
Emergency medical evacuation insurance is provided for each participant of the trip. However, the insurance policy provided does not include cancellation coverage. Participants who wish to have this type of insurance are responsible to purchase their own trip cancellation insurance.
participation in medical mission projects can expose participants to illness, accidents, or other dangerous situations. It is the responsibility of each participant to have adequate life, health, or other insurance that is necessary for the trip.
Participants in the mission projects are volunteers and as such are required to sign a waiver and release form which verifies Centura Health, its hospitals, and/or the Rocky Mountain Healthcare Foundation are not responsible for any injuries, loss, and/or damage to personal property that may occur during this mission project or tourist excursions. If there is an additional baggage charge for two bags, this cost will be added to the airfare cost for each participant.
Several vaccinations are recommended for travel to Rwanda:
You will also need to take medication for malaria. For this length of trip,
Malarone may be a good recommendation.
A couple of good travel health websites for reference are:
Rwanda has made impressive progress in establishing a safe and stable environment since the horrific genocide in 1994. Since then, the national government has been working hard to prevent any future human disasters from occurring. Government leaders are some of the most honest in Africa, and visitors to Rwanda should have no problems in touring the country. As in any foreign country, however, care should be taken to avoid pickpockets.
For international travel safety, visit the
US Passport & International Travel website.
The climate at Mugonero is relatively mild. The elevation is around 1500 meters (4500 feet). Buildings, however, are not well heated. Warmer clothing, especially at night, is recommended. It is best to layer clothes.
As health care professionals and as representatives of Centura Health, dress and decorum should be appropriate. Further details about dress and decorum can be obtained from the Project Director.
One of the most well-known accounts of the genocide in Rwanda is the book "We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda" by Philip Gourevitch . This book includes some information about Mugonero Hospital.
Immaculee Ilibagiza writes of the dramatic story of how she survived the genocide by hiding in a Hutu pastor's tiny bathroom with seven women for 91 days. The story takes place near Kibuye, which is the main city near Mugonero.
Bishop John, a frequent visitor to Colorado, tells his story about the recent history of Rwanda as written by Thomas Nelson. He provides more insight into the Christian church's role in the genocide and how forgiveness can be found in the most desperate situations.
Rosamund Carr provides an informative look into an ex-patriot's life in Rwanda. Her love of the country and it's people is heartwarming, and her description of how the country has evolved from colonialism to independence and the to genocide is very informative.
To learn more about Rwanda, visit the following websites:
Several films have been produced about the genocide, including:
For stories about individuals who have made an impact in the world, the following books are also good reads:
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