I really feel that Kristi’s last, beautiful post should have been the final one of the blog. It summarizes it very well, and I have little to add to it, apart from letting you know that we had a smooth and uneventful trip home. Ethiopian Airlines really has joined Star Alliance at just the right moment, giving us better seats on the planes and access to their lounges. The Cloud 9 lounge in Addis Ababa is something ro remember!
But I do have a promise to fullfill: in the “Background” post, a month ago, I wrote that I would give some information on a more structural solution for Rwanda’s shortage of anesthesiologists and other health providers. So this is a little postscript to describe that program. It’s called Human Resources for Health (HRH) and it’s a very large-scale project that will be getting underway this summer.
Basically, Rwanda is in a bind: there are not enough staff physicians to train many residents, and since there are not many residents trained, there is no increase in the number of staff physicians. And this holds not only for physicians, but similarly for nurses, dentists and other health care providers. HRH will address this problem by sending US health care workers (organized through 9 US universities) to Rwanda as teachers, for periods of time from several months to a year. This will allow a great expansion of the training programs, and that, after a number of years, will allow hiring of the graduates as new faculty. The US presence can then gradually be scaled down, until the HRH program stops, 7 years from now. It is a large-scale and well-funded project: the plan is to have more than 100 people on the ground before the end of this year, and the participants will be paid and have additional support for travel and housing expenses.
The CASIEF/ASAGHO program that Kristi and I were on will continue, and in fact will be immensely helpful for the anesthesiology branch of HRH, as it has already created a detailed curriculum, and many of the issues associated with bringing in foreign teachers have already been resolved. But instead of one FTE, there will now be six! Five additional HRH anesthesiology teachers will be organized through Harvard, Dartmouth and the University of Virginia.
HRH is an ambitious and exciting program, and I really look forward to its implementation. If anyone has an interest in participating in the program or just learning more about, the HRH website was recently opened and can be found here. Or email me directly.
And with that, we’ll close the blog. It has been a great trip, and if our Rwanda colleagues got even half as much out of it as we did, it has been very successful! I want to thank the Canadian Anesthesiologists’ Society and the American Society of Anesthesiologists for their support. I particularly want to thank Kristi for being an unbelievably wonderful travel partner through all the high and low points of the trip. And I want to thank all our blog followers. It was very good to know that, every day, about 100 people from all around the world were reading our adventures.
As they say in Rwanda: “Thank you for appreciating”!