New computer assisted surgery project to improve cancer treatment, healthcare in Rwanda

Experts will soon introduce a minimally invasion surgery project aiming at improving cancer treatment and healthcare with surgical innovations in Rwanda and will benefit other African countries.

The project is under the Institute dedicated to Research against Cancer of Digestive Tract (IRCAD) based in France.

According to Professor Jacques Marescaux, IRCAD-IHU in charge of Innovation and Excellence, the project will help in handling challenges of the little number of doctors which currently affects healthcare delivery in Rwandan hospitals and will help to reduce complications after surgery.

750.000 patients worldwide suffer from complications due to artificial surgery every day.

Marescaux who created the Institute in 1994 in France explained that IRCAD-Afica in Rwanda will create a center for excellence to train other African countries on scientific surgery.

“We have created IRCAD 25 years ago in France to train minimally invasive surgeons coming from all over the world about computer-assisted surgery. That was the beginning. To date we extended in Taiwan (Asiatic Part), Latin America, Rio de Janeiro, Saopolo, and right now in Rwanda in Africa, never have I imagined to do that,” Marescaux said.

Professor Jacques Marescaux, IRCAD Founder.

He said that this idea is coming after some Rwandan scientific students push the minister of health for having such an institute to get practical skills on scientific surgery.

“So, I came in last July 2017 not only with the idea to do that. We had meeting with different surgeons and the ministry of health and I saw how we can dedicate to do something like that and everybody was motivated to do that,” he said.

Marescaux said he was motivated by His Excellency President Paul Kagame who also appreciated the idea.

“ I said to Paul Kagame: Do you think this is the moment to do something that has really high technology to improve some hospitals in Rwanda? His answer was fantastic, he said: “For me today is yesterday, I need to see for tomorrow,” that is the vision of Real Chief of state to see for the next generation, and that was my motivation,” said Marescaux.

He said that the building of the center of excellence in Rwanda will be finished within eight months and will be the center for all Africa.

The technology will assist all the technology of computer science today which started in France. It will help surgeons to apply computer science for surgery and develop minimally invasion surgery which is very important in all countries in the world.

The treatment is fast

“When the patient by minimally invasion surgery can be in the hospital for one day, it is different from normal technique that takes perhaps two weeks. When you see it decreases complications by more than 70%. We developed how patient can go out of the hospital very quickly. So, to our economic reason it is fantastic, because it is less expensive, and it benefits the patients,” he said.

The ministry of health will be working on the building and all medical equipments for minimally invasion surgery will be provided by IRCAD according to Marescaux.

The beginning of the construction will be in July 2018 and will take up to fifteen months.

A very strong team from France will be deployed in Rwanda to train surgeons when the building will be finished.

According to Director of CHUK Dr Theobald Hategekimana, the project is very important as it brings a surgical innovation that does not cut a wide space on patient’s skin.

“The center of excellence will be in Rwanda but will help all surgeons across Africa to learn computer assisted surgery, the technology treats a patients only in two days and returns on his/her work, while the traditional one takes longer than ten days,” said Hategekimana.

Director of CHUK Dr Theobald Hategekimana appreciated the technology./Elias Hakizimana.

He said that the technology reduces complications such as infection and blood loss during surgery.

The technology will be applied on some illnesses such as those in articulations, abdominal and chest and prostate cancer.

It will also help to have the image simulation on a specific area of the illness without damaging unnecessary parties of muscle.

“There is a few number of surgeons in Rwanda using this technology but not at high level, what we need is that all surgeons students will be graduating with needed skills and practices about this technology,” Hategekimana said, adding that the center for excellence in Rwanda will boost medical tourism with foreigners who will be coming to Rwanda for medical treatment.

The center of excellence will be built in Kicukiro district, Masaka sector.

By Elias Hakizimana @theinspirerpubl







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Elias Hakizimana

Elias Hakizimana, CEO&Founder of The Inspirer Ltd,( is a professional Rwandan Journalist with Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Communication, received from University of Rwanda’s College of Arts and Social Sciences (CASS) in 2014. He served various media houses in Rwanda including Rwanda Broadcasting Agency (RBA) in 2013 and became passionate with English Online and Print Media Publications where he exercised his talent as a Freelance News Reporter for The New Times, The Independent, The Rwanda Focus, Panorama and more before he became a Self-Entrepreneur as the CEO and Founder of The Inspirer Limited in early 2017.

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