Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame, alongside First Lady Jeannette Kagame and Prof. Jacques Marescaux, the founder of IRCAD France, officially launched IRCAD Africa.
This state-of-the-art research and training centre, in Masaka within Rwanda’s burgeoning ‘health city,’ seeks to shape the future of medical professionals in minimally invasive surgery across the continent.
President Kagame stated that IRCAD Africa will play a key role in elevating the skills and capabilities of African talent in the field of medicine.
He also mentioned that IRCAD International, along with its collaborators including Marescaux and those who support its mission, has had a significant and perhaps underappreciated impact on the lives of Rwandans.
“Marescaux and others who work with you at IRCAD International and those who join you because they understand the cause and the vision you have, but more so the vision to use the tools to advance knowledge, technology and bring it to places where it is not expected,” Kagame said.
The President noted that Africa often gets secondary consideration in global dialogues. He expressed his appreciation to Marescaux for his willingness to take calculated risks in the continent, which have ultimately yielded significant rewards.
He further assured the French surgeon that selecting Rwanda as the gateway to Africa would not lead to disappointment.
“Even at a personal level, you will feel that what you invested in has had a huge effect in changing many people’s lives through improved access to health,” he said.
The President emphasised that the introduction of minimally invasive surgery in Africa would bring about a profound and transformative change in people’s lives.
IRCAD Transformative agenda
IRCAD Africa has ambitious plans to annually train between 500 to 1000 surgeons in the practice of minimally invasive surgery, a modern medical technique known for its capacity to reduce patient pain and trauma, shorten hospital stays, lower the risk of bleeding and infection, and expedite recovery.
Leveraging artificial intelligence in its research and training endeavours, IRCAD Africa aims to impart skills and knowledge to the next generation of surgeons across a range of medical specialties, including general surgery, urology, gynaecology, ear, nose, and throat (ENT) surgery, neurosurgery, anesthesiology, and orthopaedics.
Marescaux described the centre as a catalyst that will benefit all African surgeons and computer scientists alike.
“The most important thing I have to confess is that this project was only made possible thanks to the vision of our President.
“If it can be said that the most illustrious French politician of the 20th century was undoubtedly Charles De Gaulle, it cannot be seriously disputed that Paul Kagame is the most illustrious African Head of State,” said Marescaux.
This facility is a collaborative endeavour involving the renowned global research and training institute, IRCAD France, renowned for its laparoscopic surgery expertise.
IRCAD Africa marks the fifth establishment within the IRCAD network worldwide and stands as the inaugural comprehensive medical institution within the expansive 100-hectare Kigali Health City.
This health city will also be home to various healthcare facilities, including Rwanda’s largest hospital, CHUK, a dedicated heart treatment centre, medical schools, pharmaceutical centres, and state-of-the-art laboratories.
Numerous African nations have initiated discussions with both the Rwandan government and IRCAD Africa regarding the possibility of sending their medical professionals to receive training at this facility.