Kigali Health Institute (KHI) Friday March 23 organized its open day to showcase a variety of its health clinics, activities and educational programmes at the Institute’s campus in Kiyovu, Kigali District.
The event was well attended by major partners and stakeholders in the health sector but mostly the general public who flocked the placed for free medical consultation and treatment at the different KHI clinics, depending on the type of illness.
The Institute offers dental services, physiotherapy services and medical diagnostic laboratory services in its respective clinics under the umbrella of Kigali Health Institute Business Development (KHIBD) Ltd—an initiative to help students and lecturers apply their skills and also help students do their clinical on modern equipments and even reduce the cost invested on dispatching them into various hospitals across the country.
It is an innovation of generating money and also enhance KHI outreach programme. KHI programs range from advanced diploma programs, bachelor’s degrees and various masters degrees. Masters Programs include; Masters in Critical Care and Trauma Nursing, Master of Science in Health Informatics and a Post graduate Certificate in Professional Counseling.
The Institute also offers courses such as; General Nursing, Mental Health, Midwifery, Clinical Officers and Community Health, Nutrition and Dietetics, Environmental Health sciences, Dentistry, Anaestesia, Medical Imaging , Physiotherapy, Ophthalmology, Biomedical Laboratory Sciences and Orthopedic Technology.
More exciting is KHI’s new state-of-the-art physiotherapy centre offering among other services; electrotherapeutical and manipulative therapy services, therapeutic fitness programmes, heat/cold therapeutics, soft issue mobilization, special rehabilitation after stroke or cerebral palsy, therapeutic counseling services.
KHI Open Day is an annual event initiated back in 2009. It is an important day on KHI’s calendar where the Institute’s administration, lecturers and students gets the opportunity to interact with its partners; both government and development partner organizations and the general public.
This, KHI Open Day is part of being accountable to the public but also to promote KHI educational programmes and enhancing public image—sending out a strong message that KHI is an innovative and dynamic institution.
In an interview with Mr. Uhawenimana Thierry Claudien, the In-charge of Public Relations and Communications at KHI, he explained that the Open Day is a suitable approach to being accountable to Rwandans. “We have found it so important because as though we normally do outreach to various districts, open day provides us with opportunity to attend to more people within a short period of time”.
Indeed, the number of participants increases every year. At the beginning of this imitative in 2009, Thierry says approximately 2,000 people per day participated yet on March 23, records indicate well over 2,500 people benefited medical consultation and treatment.
He explains that outreach is part of KHI curriculum, where students together with their lecturers visit districts to work with communities—treating various illnesses.
“We normally organize outreach programme, involving extension of medical services down to districts. Last year, our mobile clinic services were extended to Bugesera District where our medical crew offered free medical consultations to local people across the district. Those found ill would be treated or referred to KHI clinics at the campus or other referral hospitals”.
Outreach programme is part of KHI curriculum…involving equipping students with practical skills on how to work with communities. Part of the time for students is spent in class, skills lab and hospitals. It is therefore important that students go in the rural areas to interact more with the community, know their problems and teach them how as a way to prevent diseases.
A Call for More Support
KHI normally visits one district a year due to limited logistical resources (budget) but would wish to visit many more districts during the course of the year. Also, because students have to balance it with other curricular activities, there is just so much time that can be allocated to outreach programme. “If resources allow, we can still visit at least three districts a year. We appreciate support coming from individual sponsors and call upon other partners for more support to enable us roll out this initiative that benefits a significant part of our society, especially the poor”, Thierry appealed.
In organizing the open day, Thierry says the Institute is very particular in its targeted audience. “First of all our main target are students in high schools. We want to inspire them pursue biomedical and allied health courses so as to increase the number of medical professionals in Rwanda in the long run. We also target partners and stakeholders to showcase how we are progressing. This intended for confidence building (especially funders). And of course the general publics because the services we offer benefit them”.
As though treatment and consultation on open day is free, majority of people who are diagnosed and found sick are referred to KHI clinics thus generating more income to the health institute.
To this end, it becomes appropriate in terms of responding to the Government’s call to public education institutions to initiate income generating programmes to supplement (government) direct budget support. KHI works closely with the ministry of education and health in this programme, and the two ministries offer support in various ways.
In organizing this day, KHI sets aside a small budget of about Rwf2million according to Thierry to mainly buy medicine and spend on a few other logistics. Medical services offered on this day are completely free, including the medicine. Other materials are internally sources freely from the KHI laboratories and logistics stores to showcase activities and programmes by different departments
Kigali Health Institute Business Development Limited (KHIBD Ltd) & KHI Clinics
KHIBD Ltd is a private limited liability company owned by KHI, whose mandate is to manage the income generating activities of the Institute in a cost efficient and effective way using the expertise available to provide affordable medical services to the public. Hence, the KHI medical clinics are part of the income generating activities manned by KHIBD Ltd.
The idea of KHI clinics came as an innovative idea from what the Institute experience in the field, and being an education institute dealing in health related issues—with a bank of knowledge and experts in medical sector.
Besides, as the students go through the KHI system they are required to have hands on skills. So, the clinics also act as centres for imparting practical working skills and experience among students. In this case KHI has the state-of-the-art specialized medical laboratories and equipment, the best in Rwanda.
Students undergo intensive practical training on how to deal with patients. Thierry says students who excel are retained as medical assistants at KHI clinics and they eventually grow into good nurses and doctors.
From field studies, it was noticed there were gaps as related to treatment of oral illnesses, physiotherapy treatment as well as laboratory consultancy services. With a minimal budget, KHI decided to start the oral health clinic services and dental clinic services. Later on the physiotherapy clinic service was added after experiencing rampant therapeutic illnesses such as limbs, back pain, neck pains and other neural complications. In the near future, a clinic to deal with optical issues shall also be added, he confirmed.
Apparently, these clinics are manned by lecturers who are experts in treating particular illnesses.
KHI also recruits a few specialized doctors to compliment efforts of lecturers. Some students are also engaged as medical assistants.
Experience of Operating KHI Clinics
In a separate exclusive interview with Mr. Jean Baptist Sagahutu, a lecturer in physiotherapy department and coordinator of KHI Physiotherapy Clinic he explained to Hope Magazine some of the intricacies of managing KHI clinic, a case in point the Physiotherapy Clinic.
Mr. Sagahutu said the clinic is equipped with modern equipment and a number of experienced doctors and medical assistants—largely students who excel in their respective medical domains.
KHI is aware of poor customer service in some medical institutions. As such Mr. Sagahutu said administration put a lot of emphasis on Customer care in manning all its clinics—and this passed well for its competitive and comparative advantage over other medical institutions in Rwanda.
The Physiotherapy clinic operates 7am -5pm every day, and the coordinator promises that soon the clinic will be accepting medical insurances like MMI, RAMA, CORAR, Mediplan Insurance, Equity Bank, BK, Ecobank and others. The tariffs are very affordable, charging RAMA rates.
In a bid to promote the clinic, Sagahutu says promotional initiatives are ongoing such as outreach programmes in corporate companies and some embassies to sensitize staff on ergonometric systems and practices—for example; sensitize them on how to prevent muscle skeletal symptoms. Like those working in industries or offices, they are being sensitized on how they can prevent back pain or neck pain that develop as a result of standing or sitting for long hours.
KHI clinics are intended to keep lecturers and students abreast with practical operational skills to balance it well with medical scholarly theories. It is an opportunity to also prepare them for the competitive job market.
KHI extends its appreciation to development partners like BTC, CDC, USAID, GLOBAL FUND, RATN, and Government of Rwanda through ministry of education and ministry of health for the technical and financial support. And call upon other partners especially those dealing in health related matters to lend a hand so as KHI can scale up the activities of KHIBD Ltd.