General Surgery - CHUK

General Project Information
Type of Project: 
Date of Experience: 
07/02/2012 to 07/27/2012
Project Description: 

General Surgery Elective at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Kigali (CHUK), which is the main referral hospital for most of Rwanda. Daily schedule consisted of morning rounds (reviewing overnight/interesting cases), wards rounds (once per week), and a lot of OR time (often as 1st assist). Working with a number of locally-trained surgeons as well as foreign physicians (surgeons, anaesthetists) from a number of countries. Very wide variety of cases (mostly pediatrics, ortho-trauma, general surgery, neurosurgery) in en extremely busy referral hospital.

Student Experience
First Name: 
Last Name: 
Description of Student Experience: 

Pros: Amazing surgical experience. Cases are far more varied than on any one service at a Western hospital. General Surgeons take their title quite literally and perform Pediatric Surgery, Orthopedics, General Surgery cases in the course of typical days.  Particularly interesting for students interested in trauma or orthopedics, as 60% cases are serious MVC's. There is also the option of working with one of Rwanda's only two neurosurgeons. Students can (and must) design their own schedule and be proactive. You should not expect to be invited to the OR. However, I was always welcome in the OR and surgeons are often quite happy to have an extra set of hands assisting. Also a great experience working with medical students from the National University of Rwanda. This elective offers the opportunity of completing a small research project in partnership with the medical students at NUR. Opportunity to work on-call with the residents (extremely busy).

Cons: Often limited by lack of supplies (e.g., surgery on hold for 4-5 hours while drapes are being sterilized, short supply of Ex-fixes and other materials, no sterile gown available for student). Very little supervision or direction; it is essential that students undertaking this elective show initiative and be proactive. Very limited patient contact, as most speak only Kinyarwanda and surgeons are not very involved in ward care (rounds once per week). Knowledge of French is very helpful; the official work language is English but rounds/intra-op teaching is often in French.

Organization Information
Name of Organization: 
National University of Rwanda
Description of Site: 
Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Kigali
Main Language Spoken: 
Other Language(s) Spoken: 
English, French
Other Information
Funding Source: 
McGill Travel Award
Dress Code: 
Travel Details: 
Direct flights to Kigali from many European cities (KLM, AirFrance, Brussels).
Housing Details: 
Grace Apartments (200 USD/month) - 10 minute walk from CHUK - Needs to be organized in advance through a local medical student.
Essential Items to Bring: 
Scrubs/Scrub-Cap; Post-Exposure Prophylaxis for HIV (needlestick injuries); Laptop (many coffee shops have Wi-Fi)

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