I've just returned from a week in Kigali. Unfortunately my power adapter blew out the first night so I was basically computer/internet-less for the week (especially since internet at Bourbon Cafe is 4000 francs after the first hour!!! That's about $7). All that means is that I have a lot to catch up on. The most exciting thing for me was to visit King Faisal Hospital, Rwanda's main referral hospital. This place is seriously impressive. We spent about an hour with a Ugandan radiologist who had previously worked in both Mulago and Mbarara hospitals. Long story short, he became so frustrated with his inability to treat patients in Uganda that he took a chance on Rwanda. Since coming to King Faisal, he was able to acquire a new CT scan, a flouroscope, and a machine to do mammograms, among others. He is also excited about getting an MRI machine at the end of this year, which I believe will be the only MRI in Rwanda. There is also a digital x-ray so that films are no longer needed, and so that doctors and patients can share and consult on results much faster and easier.
The doctor (who prefers to remain anonymous) bustled about the radiology department, clearly proud of his work and the service he is able to provide to his patients. After a while though, he insisted he had to get back to work. "If a patient waits for more than 15 minutes," he says, "you'll have the ministry [of health] calling you the next day."
Much more on Rwanda soon. An amazing country and government, despite the fact that some (ahem! France) have beef with Kagame.
In other news, but on a related health note, I went with David (see "What Would You Do?") to the Surgery in Kampala today. At numerous clinics/hospitals, he has variously been diagnosed with: malaria, ulcers, cancer, and typhoid, to mention a few. So we went today to Dr. Stockley to get a second (ok, more like fifth) opinion. After 3 hours and $70 we walked away with a diagnosis and treatment. The culprit(s) for the pain and suffering he has been undergoing for the past few weeks/months? Bilharzia, amoebiasis, and internal yeast infection. No wonder he felt like crap. I couldn't help but think he would have been treated much better and faster if he had been a Rwandan instead of Ugandan citizen...but we have hope for the future. And I am a patriot, Mr. President. Are you?
Tomorrow I am off to Mulago for a story for the Independent. You can be sure I will be ranting in 24 hrs time...