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Rwanda

Monday the 6th I flew from Atlanta to Rwanda via Amsterdam arriving Tuesday evening. I had missed the week of screening (thank you Marilyn and Ashlee) and the following week of surgery by the amazing Team Heart folks. This was our 10th year of life saving cardiac surgery for 16 patients. Jayne and Marilyn did most of the post-op echoes so I got to ease into African time by overlapping a few days with Jayne. It's great to see how quickly the patients recover - after just a couple of days they are smiling, walking and following the post care regiment. By Saturday the patients were all in the Step-down Ward and handed off to the Rwandan nurses / doctors as the Team Heart folks left for home - exhausted but happy.

 Here are the 16 cardiac patients outside the Step-down Ward.  

Here are the 16 cardiac patients outside the Step-down Ward.  

The goal for my 2nd week in Rwanda was to work with the NCD (Non Communicable Disease - hypertension, stroke, diabetes, MI) nurses and physicians to increase their echo skills. With NCD's on the rise in Rwanda and many other developing countries there is a growing need for education and treatment. Here in Rwanda the Minister of Health has instituted a strong program using senior nurses from the 30 District Hospitals to be trained to run NCD clinics. In 2014 I brought over a team of 6 sonographers and we spent 2 weeks training 15 nurses. Being retired I can now spend an extra week after the Team Heart surgeries.

Working with Dr. Evarest Ntaganda who is in charge of training the nurses we came up with a plan that I would go to some of the District Hospitals up North and work with some of the nurses. That morphed quickly into 15 nurses and a few physicians traveling with me. It all worked out in the end. A day to give some lectures and then we saw patients at 3 hospitals, Ruhengeri, Butaro and Nemba. It helped that 3 of the nurses had been part of the 2014 group and were a great help in teaching each other. They have ordered 11 new echo machines and in Nov. I plan to return with a small team to do some follow up training.    

 The 2017 NCD nurses and physicians ready to scan the world.

The 2017 NCD nurses and physicians ready to scan the world.

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