U.S. DONATES X-RAY MACHINE TO STRENGTHEN KIBUYE’S COVID RESPONSE
KIBUYE (May 21, 2021) — As part of U.S. commitment to improving health in Rwanda, the Government of the United States of America delivered a new mobile X-ray machine to Kibuye Referral Hospital Friday, providing urgent support to the hospital’s ability to diagnose and treat COVID-19 patients as Karongi District continues to fight an uptick of cases. U.S. Ambassador to Rwanda Peter H. Vrooman led the delivery team to Karongi District.
“The United States and Rwanda have a strong partnership in public health and it saves lives,” Ambassador Vrooman said. “We want this critical tool to be put to use where it is needed most.”
The new mobile X-ray machine, valued at 44 million Rwandan francs, will be an essential component of Kibuye Referral Hospital’s newly-renovated intensive care unit (ICU). In addition to improving diagnosis of COVID-19 cases, the machine will help the hospital diagnose other respiratory diseases and improve medical treatment at patient bedside in real-time.
“We are very glad to receive this X-ray machine from the U.S. Embassy, which will help Kibuye Referral Hospital to provide the highest quality of health care services to patients from all over the Western Province,” said Vestine Mukarutesi, mayor of Karongi District.
The new mobile X-ray machine is the first in a series that will be donated to COVID-19 ICUs across Rwanda. The mobile X-ray machines are funded by the U.S. Department of Defense and come through the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) and the United States Overseas Humanitarian, Disaster Assistance, and Civic Aid (U.S. OHDACA) program, a unique humanitarian assistance package that builds Rwanda’s effectiveness to prepare and respond to COVID-19. The donation was coordinated by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (U.S. CDC), which has played a leading role in supporting Rwanda’s ability to prevent, detect, and respond to COVID-19.
Ambassador Vrooman and the Director General of Rwanda Biomedical Centre, Dr. Sabin Nsanzimana, also toured the hospital’s newly-renovated ICU facility. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has funded similar COVID-19 ICU upgrades in Rwamagana, Kibungo, and Nyagatare, and provided six Zoll ventilators to support the ICU in Kibuye as part of a one billion Rwandan franc investment last year.
“Thank you to the U.S. government,” said Dr. Sabin. “Not only for the portable X-ray machine, but also for the many other donations. Especially the ventilators, they are helping to save lives.”
The U.S. donation today is just part of the more than 17 billion Rwandan francs that the United States has invested in Rwanda’s COVID-19 response since March 2020. This support includes the construction of hand-washing stations across Rwanda; support for public communications to fight COVID-19; staff and vehicles to support contact tracing; laboratory diagnostic equipment and supplies; support for training of frontline workers; medical equipment including ventilators, patient monitors, hospital beds, and intensive care units; and infection prevention and control supplies such as biohazard bags, alcohol, soap, and personal protective equipment.