Home Sci-Tech Rwanda: New Tech to Reduce Cost of Heart Disease Treatment in Rwanda

Rwanda: New Tech to Reduce Cost of Heart Disease Treatment in Rwanda

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Rwandans that used to travel abroad to have heart surgeries and incur costs of up to 20 million Rwandan Francs will now have the same treatment at an amount between Rwf 2 to 4 million, thanks to newly introduced state-of-the-art technology offering such services in Rwanda.

Dubbed cardiac catheterization, the technology is the first of its kind in Rwanda’s health sector; although it has been already in use in developed countries to carry out a number of procedures including treatment of cardiac issues, diagnosis, and tests.

During a catheterization procedure, doctors insert a very small, flexible, hollow tube (called a catheter) into a blood vessel in the groin, arm, or neck of a patient; into the aorta and into the heart.

Once the catheter reaches the part that medics want, it is used to carry out several tests plus treatments among other things.

Rwanda’s newly introduced equipment for cardiac catheterization will be stationed at King Faisal Hospital in Kigali where a whole laboratory has been set up and has already successfully handled some cases.

Using this technology, in the previous week medics at KFH have carried out a number of procedures including diagnosing and treating certain cardiovascular conditions; carrying out the very first coronary angioplasty in Rwanda (opening narrowed or blocked blood vessels that supply blood to the heart); coronary stenting (placing tube-shaped devices into the coronary arteries that supply blood to the heart to keep them open); as well as other interventions to correct blood flow, repair holes in the heart or locate blockages in blood vessels.

Many of these procedures were being done in foreign countries before, and the nearest that patients would go for such treatment was Kenya where they would incur at least Rwf 20 million in the process.

On a positive note, besides reduction of the general treatment bills for patients seeking such services, government-based health insurances (both RAMA and mituelle de sante) will cover 90 percent of the hospital bills, meaning that patients under such insurances will pay about Rwf 200,000 to 400,000.

Catheterization technology is not used for all heart surgeries; but it has reduced the need for open heart surgeries in the world.

Speaking about the development, Dr. Miliard Derbew the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of KFH, said it is a very important development that is not just for saving foreign currency for the country, but is maintaining human life than before.

“So this is a great opportunity for Rwanda as a country and also for the surrounding countries which will access this treatment from Rwanda,” he said.