Aid Network > Where we help > Rwanda 

A commitment to longstanding development work pays

Our experienced maxillofacial surgeons Dr Dr Oliver Blume and Gunther Au-Balbach are the heads of our help for Rwanda. They have been performing operations on cleft children at the University Clinic in the country's capital city of Kigali already since back in 2011. In the course of these campaigns they have also trained local doctors, anaesthetists and nurses in the surgical treatment of patients.

In 2013 we successfully completed the training of our Rwandan surgeon Dr Laurent Siborurema, who during that period also attended four weeks of further training at two Indian cleft centres which are supported by us. Since then Dr Laurent has been performing operations in Rwanda and neighbouring Tanzania with a high level of competence and a purely African team at his side. Of course he is also always part of the team whenever Oliver Blume and Gunther Au-Balbach are in East Africa for an operating campaign.

The last such campaign was held at Gitwe in Rwanda's Ruhango District. All of the patients treated during this campaign were babies. Most of them were in a desolate state, malnourished and in some instances also very ill. In the end, only fifteen of the eighteen infants scheduled for an operation were actually able to undergo surgery.

While Dr Laurent continues to operate throughout the year, the next major campaign for the whole team is scheduled for the end of 2019 and will take place in Rwanda and Tanzania. The three experienced surgeons will then be accompanied by their Ugandan colleague Dr Deus and the excellent Ugandan anaesthetist Dr Emmanuel Munyarugero.

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Providing medical treatment in Africa can be a considerable problem. In Rwanda there is on average only one doctor for 25,000 people. A great hurdle for the treatment of cleft children in Africa in general is the widespread belief in the healing powers of traditional medicine men. Illness and deformities such as a cleft lip and palate are often seen as the incurable effects of a curse. Educating the population about the treatability of a cleft lip and palate is therefore an important part of our work.

Please help provide cleft children from Eastern Africa with a second chance in life.