Rwanda Medics Lacking Confidence To Handle Emergency Cases

A boy with a broken leg is transported to the hospital via Save the Children’s Photo Save the Children

Several medical practitioners in Rwanda are failing to save lives in emergency cases not necessarily because they lack skills, but because they don’t have confidence, the Ministry of Health has indicated.

At the occasion of Rwanda Medical Doctors Association (RMA) symposium on management of common medical emergencies in Kigali during the weekend, several cases were presented whereby the medical doctors fail to decide to do the right thing before it is too late.

It thus results in loss of lives.

“Recently, a patient was taken to Nyamata hospital following a heart attack. They kept her for three to four days before deciding to send her to Kigali University Teaching Hospital (CHUK),” Dr Zuberi Muvunyi, Director General of Clinical Services Division at the Ministry of Health said.

“At CHUK there was no ventilation that was required for the case. They rushed the patient to Kanombe Military hospital which only found it was too late. She died upon arrival,” He added.

This official said that though the country needs medical personnel from nurses to specialized doctors, it also needs mindset change where people should desist from saying; “we can’t afford. Let someone die because we don’t have enough skills for the task.”

For Muvunyi, a delay in transfer of patients from a district to a referral hospital is unfortunate in a country which has an effective ambulance service system and a good road network.

Dr David Ntirushwa, RMA President says that medical emergencies are an integral part of health primary care, stressing the importance of sharing experience between junior and senior doctors.

For example, he said, medics who manage primary health care are always exposed to different types of medical emergencies starting from asthma attack, stroke, trauma. Sometimes they occur in very uncommon occurrences which newly graduated doctors may not be familiar with.

During this symposium, specialists displayed various updates on common medical emergencies including hypertensive emergencies, acute stroke management, emergency medical training in Rwanda and asthma to mention but a few.

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