Rwanda: First Lady Breaks Ground On U.S.$20 Million Heart Care Center

The construction of a new heart centre in Masaka, Kicukiro District has kicked off.

The $20 million facility, whose construction was launched on December 29, will be built in three phases, and expected to be finished in the nex three years.

Construction works were flagged of was launched by a foundation stone-laying ceremony, by the First Lady Mrs Jeannette Kagame.

First Lady Jeannette Kagame delivers remarks during the event to lay the foundation stone for the MY Heart Centre in Masaka on Wednesday December 29. Photo by Olivier Mugwiza

The centre to be named “MY Heart Centre” will be built in partnership with Heart Care and Research Foundation-Rwanda (HCRF-R) and the Ministry of Health, it will include a research wing, clinics, operation theatres, radiology rooms, laboratories, pharmacies, accommodation, and an administration block, with a bed capacity of 1,000 people.

The centre will be for cardiovascular care and will be able to provide simple and more complex surgeries from the beginning that include angioplasty for problems like hypertension, chest pain, and more.

While officiating the foundation stone-laying ceremony the First Lady said: “MY Heart Centre will address heart disease – a health crisis which often kills in silence”

She added that the centre will render the vision of a cardiovascular care and research facility on firm ground.

“We truly can reduce premature mortality due to heart illnesses, and we are committed to doing so… I am convinced that years from now, the impact of our respective governments, philanthropist institutions, and committed individuals joining forces for this equal access healthcare solution, will be felt throughout the region” Mrs Kagame added.

According to statistics from World Health Organisation (WHO) 14 per cent of Rwandans die due to cardiovascular diseases, and among children more than 1000 children have congenital heart disease and rheumatic heart disease and need surgery yearly.

Boot to medical tourism

According to the Minister of Health, Dr Daniel Ngamije the centre will enhance the country’s capacity to handle complex cardiac conditions not only for Rwandans but for patients coming from the region and Africa.

“This is one of the main testimonies of access to quality health care for our population and assuring that no one is left behind,” he said.

Latest statistics indicate that at least $6 billion is spent on medical tourism by Africans who seek treatment beyond the continent, mainly in Asian countries like India.

Dr Ngamije added that the centre will also serve as a training and research hub for young nurses, doctors and scientists from the region to adhere to international standards.

Jeannette Kagame and other officials pose for a group photo during the event of laying the foundation stone for the MY Heart Centre in Masaka on Wednesday December 29

Statistics show that Rwanda has approximately 10 cardiologists serving a population of 13 million Rwandans, this makes a ratio of 1 cardiologist per 10,500 patients, which is below the WHO recommended ratio of one doctor per 1,000 patients.

Apart from the heart centre, Rwanda has attracted investments in the health sector, which continue to position the country as a medical tourism hub. They include Butaro and Kanombe cancer centres, several eye care centres, among others.

Minister of Health, Dr Daniel Ngamije addresses the event

The centre named “MY Heart Centre” is expected to be a state-of-the-art medical hub for heart care services, training and research. Olivier Mugwiza (1)

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