Rwanda’s future in health driven by technology

The future of Rwanda’s health and medicine gives array of hope owing it to great achievements over the years, directed at improving health and arresting causes of illness and death.  

“Over the years, life expectancy has increased, and maternal mortality has declined while medical technology has advanced,” remarked Dr. Sabin Nsanzimana, Director General of Rwanda Biomedical Centre.

“A good example of high-tech healthcare is the newly inaugurated Rwanda Cancer Centre that will use targeted radiation to treat different forms of cancer,” he continued.

Dr. Sabin made the remarks on February 7th, 2020 as he spoke to over 100 researchers gathered for the Rwanda Academy of Sciences Inaugural Symposium on Research. In his presentation, he spoke about the past, present, and future of medicine in Rwanda, otherwise known as New Lenses to Vision 2050.  The presentation projected that based on present findings, Rwanda’s future in health will be driven by technology. Technology has reduced geographical barriers and access to healthcare, diagnosis, and treatment have improved greatly while clinical research has set the trend for evidence-based health decisions.

High-tech achievements that Rwanda boasts include using unmanned drones to supply blood to geographically inaccessible areas and to spray mosquito habitats in order to prevent malaria, improved blood services through enhancing safety and using high technology to give patients the blood components they need, introducing minimally invasive surgery to reduce cosmetic effects and hospitalization time, improved laboratory services that resulted into Rwanda discovering a new type of tuberculosis, and forensic services that allow for timely screening of cancers and other notorious viruses without having to transfer samples abroad, among others.

Dr. Nsanzimana however warned that technology as well comes with impacts. “We should be ready to address the challenges that come with technology, for example diseases like ‘text neck’ are emerging due to addiction to cell phones. We should as well engage the young generation and prepare them to use all this technology at our disposal to improve medical outcomes,” said Nsanzimana.

A brain child of Rwanda Academy of Sciences supported by National Council for Science, the Symposium aimed at showcasing the potential of researchers in Rwanda under the theme, “Promoting Research for Development.”