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Filed under: GEMx Regional Exchanges, GEMx Sponsored Events, GEMx Student Reflections

Blog by Job Magare, medical student from University of Nairobi School of Medicine, who has completed his elective in general anatomic pathology at the university of Rwanda College of Medicine and Health Science through GEMx.

It was just after a busy examination period that I found out that my application for an elective term in Rwanda had been accepted. Having never travelled to Rwanda, I didn’t know what to expect but I maintained an optimistic demeanor. This paid off and even exceeded my expectations. I arrived at the Kigali airport at around 0930 CAT and took a taxi to CHUK (Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Kigali), my working station for the next 4 weeks.


I was warmly welcomed from the first day, quickly sorted my accommodation and was taken on an elaborate tour of the entire hospital by Dr. Marie Claire Ndayisaba (Consultant Pathologist). The laboratory works round the clock but for residents we are required to be present during the week days from 7am to 5pm. I was mostly attached to the Histopathology department. On a normal day, residents are responsible for: grossing of surgical tissue specimens, performing FNAC, conducting slide review sessions under the guidance of a Consultant Pathologist for both cytology and histology cases, do weekly presentations on pre-selected topics in the department. Present cases at the hospital tumour board meetings every Friday of the week and attend to ward and accidents and emergency consults. All these duties we clearly elaborated in a monthly rota prepared by the Chief resident.


I learnt how to stain and interpret cytology slides using Diff Quik. Back at UON we routinely stain using H&E and PAP stains. I was also fortunate to go to the T.B unit and learn how to stain using Auramine stain. This even afforded me the opportunity to use fluorescent microscopy that I had not yet experienced before. During my elective term, we collectively came across two rare diagnoses (Sex cord tumor with annular tubules and Brain Hydatid cyst disease) that may end up as case reports in the foreseeable future. This, I feel will help me keep in contact with both my Rwandan and Tanzanian colleagues, laying ground for future collaborations in both scientific writing and case consultations. Other than CHUK, I got to visit the pathology laboratories in the University teaching Hospital of Butare (CHUB), King Faisal Hospital and Kanombe Military Hospital.


Every Friday afternoon, government employees are encouraged to engage in physical exercise. I got my weekly dose of physical exercise playing basketball at Cercle Spotify. I also visited the famous Kigali arena where there was an all-star basketball exhibition game to close the local basketball season. During the weekends, I spent most of my time touring the city under the guidance of my hosts. What I noticed is that Kigali is the true definition of a clean and safe city in Africa. I got the chance to try various foods Kigali had to offer but the Fish and skewered meat dishes were my favorite. My visit to the ethnographic museum in Butare also remains memorable.


Rwanda is a very enjoyable place to be. The people are very welcoming and endearing. Getting to learn about their culture and customs was also very exciting and helped me gel with my new-found community. Overall, I feel the elective term was very beneficial from both a professional and academic growth standpoint and I will recommend these exchanges to learn how pathology is practiced in other countries. I would like to thank GEMx-COPECSA for the wonderful opportunity they afforded me by fully sponsoring this elective term at CHUK. Lastly, I would like to thank Dr. Annette Uwineza (my Host) who warmly welcomed me and ensured that I had a comfortable 4 weeks stay and the Chairperson, University of Nairobi, (Pathology department), Professor Angela Amayo, for approving of my elective term in Rwanda.


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