Looking back at 1994 and the few years that followed, the health sector, one of the most important sectors of the country, was no different in terms of chaos from any of the other sectors.
The challenge of insufficient health professionals to cater for the many wounded bodies and spirits, the poor equipment that were in many of the hospitals, was a bottleneck to the sector. But inasmuch as there remain challenges in the industry, the journey of the last twenty years has been nothing short of amazing.
For the Biomedical Centre (BMC), the institution’s contribution to the sector has mainly been in the area of medical diagnosis and testing which was undeveloped in the days leading to 1994 and shortly after. This meant that even some of the infections that had lasted for long in Rwanda remained unknown or interpreted by superstitious minds hence challenging the health of Rwandans who depended on the competence of professional doctors and the ability of the sector to cater for them.
For instance according to Dr. Alphonse Karagirwa the founder of BMC, sicknesses like viral hepatitis had for long gone undetected and thus poorly tended to.
“Looking at this gap, we determined to play a role in addressing the challenges in medical diagnosis no matter how small. We knew what we wanted to achieve and we resolved to do something,” he says.
Now twelve years later, Dr. Karagirwa is confident to say that as an individual and the institution he founded, they have made tangible contribution to Rwanda’s journey to developing a professional competent health sector to steward the health of Rwandans.
On a personal level, Karagirwa has engaged in capacity building endeavors transferring what he knows to others so that they can reach more people. This has enabled the country increase the number of professional health service providers in the fields of diagnosis and other specialized cases.
as an institution, BMC has not only reduced the need for people to fly tests abroad in order to ascertain the medical procedures for treating particular patients but also has relentlessly made efforts to ensuring that Rwandans have access to world class health services enjoyed elsewhere.
With strong partners in the industry, the BMC founder assures that they are positioned to do all medical tests and diagnoses. “Those infections that we may not have the necessary equipment and expertise to test and detect, we send to our partners around the world eventually ensuring that any tests can be administered in Rwanda without a patient having to go through the trouble of travelling abroad.”
Going forward, BMC is determined to improve its services even more to respond to the growing health needs of Rwandans.
“We want to develop world class services of tests and diagnosis, polyclinic services that address would general medical procedures, and medical imaging which would include services like scanning, ultra imaging; all of which will be done on international standards utilizing the best technology available on the market today.”
Dr. Karagirwa acknowledges that had it not been the austerity and of post genocide Rwanda’s visionary leadership, nothing he and the rest of the country count as achievements today would have been possible.