First Lady Jeannette Kagame Calls for Safer, Affordable Surgical Services

First Lady Jeannette Kagame addressing participants

Rwanda’s First Lady Jeannette Kagame on May 26 attended IRCARD Africa gala dinner where he called for more investments in the continent’s health sector development, especially safe and affordable access to surgical services.

The Research Institute against Digestive Cancer (IRCAD France) is a non-profit medical research and training organization specializing in developing surgical techniques, particularly Minimally Invasive Surgical Strategies.

Mrs. Kagame said that investing in Africa’s development is rational and wise, and specifically, Rwanda is open to the world, and to those that wish the country the best.

“We are open to your expertise, we are open to your resources, we are open to your love for your fellow human,” she said.

She pointed out that access to medical tourism in Africa, is for some, being granted a second chance at a healthy life, that sometimes-costly visa applications and lengthy flights could have compromised.

The IRCARD gala dinner held in Kigali city aimed at establishing a partnership with Rwanda Private Sector Federation (PSF) and fundraising for the $500,000 budget that is required every year.

The funds will go towards supporting two main areas including sponsoring IRCAD Africa engineers working on automatic diagnosis, screening, biometrics, and augmented percutaneous surgery assisted by Artificial Intelligence, and supporting Surgeon’s trainee Scholarships, among others.

The engineers will develop software that would allow non-specialists to screen and diagnose using probes equipped with automated detection of standard pathologies.

According to IRCAD Africa, 150 medical personnel will be trained this year.

A Medical Hub

Since 2019, the government of Rwanda through the Ministry of Health in partnership with IRCAD France focused on building an IRCAD center in Kigali which is expected to be operational early next year.

It will allow African surgeons to access some of the best training in minimally invasive surgery.

“To the Friends of Rwanda, who have understood the necessity of establishing a state-of-the-art medical hub on our continent, welcome to Kigali, and welcome to the land of a thousand hills,” Mrs. Kagame said.

“For one, becoming a medical hub is for Rwanda an estimable destiny, that we will gladly attain, with the help of Friends of Rwanda and enriching cross-sector partnerships. May we walk hand in hand, Dear Guests, along this path to safe and affordable access to expert surgical treatments, for all Africans.”

During the fundraising gala dinner

According to Mrs. Kagame, “by reducing the risk of surgical procedures, while maximizing their effectiveness, we diminish the devastating powers of a multitude of diseases, that eat at the lives of millions of adults and children every year.”

The Kigali-based center becomes the first-ever IRCAD Institute on the African continent and will host surgeons and engineers from around the continent and the world early next year.

It will work with local universities including the University of Rwanda, Carnegie Mellon University Africa (CMU-Africa), and the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS), among others.

IRCAD Africa Vice President Dr. Guillaume Marescaux said: “This continent has proven to be the source of future experts in science. We are impressed with all the talented surgeons and engineers we have worked with from Rwanda and around the continent. This has been very encouraging as we are working on building the largest artificial intelligence (AI) research team in Africa.”




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