November and December I'll be volunteer emergency medicine(EM) faculty at the University Teaching Hospital of Kigali (UTHK) in Kigali, Rwanda. They just graduated their first EM specialists and the residency program needs additional support to assure these new leaders don't get overwhelmed. Enroute to Rwanda I aim to join colleagues who are launching a mobile clinic in Lesotho and to visit colleagues at Queen Elizabeth hospital in Blantyre, Malawi. I've connected with them and am seeking funding to help them develop emergency care, and will return to spend next year teaching EM there if I win the funding.
Rwanda, Malawi and Lesotho are all low income countries and their populations have very limited or no access to emergency care. This discrepancy leads to greater morbidity and mortality. I have deep roots working in Rwanda researching injury and teaching ultrasound. Malawian colleagues have invited me and expressed the need for support in teaching EM. Lesotho has a large rural population with limited access to healthcare and this mobile clinic will serve them well.
I'm faculty at Jefferson University and helping to lead some global health programs - my experiences will be directly shared to inspire my students and design opportunities for them to get involved with me.
There were several unexpected changes that came up on this trip but the bulk of my time was spent in Rwanda teaching emergency medicine to their residency program - it’s a 4 year program with 18 resident presently and the first 6 EM specialists in the country just graduated to be local faculty. Without question my experiences helping care for patients and watching the residents and new faculty use their skills impacted me much more deeply than my time in Rwanda did anyone there. The Rwandan ministry of health is in a transition phase of their planned 7 year Human Resources in health(HRH) program as last year the funding was abruptly cut. The original ways of working with many foreign faculty members present to support the teaching is simply not sustainable but they’re in the process of launching a new approach to preserve the gains realized and continue moving forward.