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The Republic of Rwanda, a country in eastern Africa just south of the Sahara Desert, is one of the most densely populated countries in the world with over 10 million people. The government is trying to control the increasing population growth, which is currently 3% per year. Most people are familiar with Rwanda because of the documentation of the 1994 genocide.

Few people are aware that this small country is now one of the emerging third-world democracies, with a remarkable spiritual healing and an expanding stable economy with an 11% growth rate, putting it among the world leaders of developing countries. Nickolas Kristof wrote of this amazing development in an article in The New York Times on July 5, 2007, describing Rwanda as a model of development for Africa.

Introduction

The University of Gitwe was originally established as the Adventist Parents Association of Gitwe (APAG) in Gitwe, District of Ruhango in the Southern Province of Rwanda, Africa, in 1981. The purpose of the founder, Gerard Urayeneza, and a group of parents of an existing secondary school was to create a new school to provide better educational opportunities for their children. That school is today respected as one of the finest private secondary schools in Rwanda.

In 1992, APAG morphed into the Institut Superieur Pedagogique de Gitwe (ISPG) when it established Rwanda’s first private university. The first academic major offered was nursing, and in order to provide a site for the clinical training of its nursing students, ISPG established the Gitwe Hospital the same year. That institution sustained significant damage during the tragic events of 1994 and when stability returned, the Board of ISPG was determined to forge ahead in education and health for the region. The Gitwe Hospital was repaired and a third floor was added as authorized and paid for by the Rwandan government upon a recommendation by a Rwandan official, Paul Kagame, the present President of Rwanda.

Africa has 25% of the world’s medical care needs and 3% of the world’s healthcare providers, numbers equally true in Rwanda. In 2002 the Board of ISPG passed a resolution to establish a private medical school with a curriculum in English. Up until that year, Rwanda had only one national medical school, which was unable to address the critical shortage of doctors (1 doctor for each 36,000 Rwandans). The ISPG Board did this to assist the country to address the doctor shortage. Previously, when ISPG Human Biology graduates were able to gain entrance to Rwanda’s only medical school, they were routinely admitted to the 2nd or 3rd year of the 6 year program and performed in the top 10%, academically, attesting to the ISPG standards. However, ISPG was frustrated that they were unable to gain admittance to the national medical school for more of its graduates that they felt were qualified candidates that ISPG decided to contribute to Rwanda’s medical infrastructure by establishing a new private medical school.

Over 10 years of planning and preparation were rewarded In May 2013, when the Ministries of Health and Education approved the accreditation of ISPG’s medical school, at that time named the Kigali Medical University. Today over 350 medical students (51% female) are hard at study in the first four classes of the 6 year curriculum.

When the Ministries of Health and Education approved the opening of the school in 2013, they also mandated that Gitwe Hospital be fully upgraded to the standards of a teaching Hospital. The Gitwe Hospital, under the governance of ISPG, recently completed a 57,829 square foot addition enabling it to continue to attend to the medical and surgical needs of the region as well as serve the needs for the essential clinical training of its associated medical students.

The University of Gitwe is located in the Rwanda Southern Province, 70 kilometers from the capital city of Kigali. The name was officially changed in January 2016 to the University of Gitwe to avoid confusion as to the location of the school. The medical school name was changed to the University of Gitwe Medical University to reflect the fact that it trains doctors, nurses and laboratory science technicians. A school of midwifery is planned for the future.

United States Ambassador to Rwanda, Hon. W. Stuart Symington visited Gitwe during the construction phase of our medical school and stated ”this is a prime example of a private-public partnership and a reason why Rwanda is a beacon for the rest of developing Africa.”

The Kigali Medical University Foundation

In December 2006, the Board of ISPG invited John H. Streit, MD, FACOG, a physician residing in New York State to serve as the first president of the then named Kigali Medical University. Dr. Streit was known to the ISPG board from his previous surgical missions to Gitwe Hospital. Dr. Streit incorporated the Kigali Medical University Foundation (KMUF) in New York State in 2007 and in September 2016 made his 20th trip to Rwanda, all in support of various missions to advance the medical school. KMUF remains dedicated to the sole purpose of support of the Gitwe med school in the form of writing grant proposals (including one that resulted in the construction of a 12 bed in and out patient Tuberculosis Treatment Center), to raising funds for student scholarships, meeting with leaders in Rwandan government, bringing United States Board Certified physicians as faculty members, et al.

The Kigali Medical University Foundation is an Internal Revenue Service 501 (c) 3 educational and charitable organization and all contributions are 100% tax deductible and will promptly receive a certificate of donation.

The University Of Gitwe

The University of Gitwe traces its existence back to 1981 when a group of parents of a secondary school decided to form a new school, Adventist Parents Association of Gitwe (APAG) with more strenuous academic standards, giving their children a better education, so important in a developing country. APAG evolved into the Institut Superieur Pedagogique de Gitwe (ISPG) with the development of Rwanda’s first private university. In 2013 ISPG opened Rwanda’s only second medical school, the Kigali Medical University, after 10 years preparation. ISPG officially renamed their organization composed of a secondary school, private university, graduate medical school and its associated Gitwe District Hospital to the University of Gitwe in order to more clearly coincide with its location, 70 kilometers from the capital city of Kigali.

The UNIVERSITY of GITWE MEDICAL UNIVERSITY

The campus of the Gitwe University is composed of 27 sturdy brick buildings constructed on what was a barren hill in 1980. Included within this campus are two 5 story academic buildings devoted to providing a course of study leading to a degree of Doctor of Medicine. These buildings include 8 large lecture halls, microscopic laboratories, a computer room with Internet connections and over one hundred and fifty individual computers for student use, a medical library containing over 2,000 American medical textbooks covering all medical sciences and specialties provided by the Kigali Medical University Foundation. The University of Gitwe recently added a collection of medical texts representing an expenditure of $80,000 USD. The medical school has Rwanda’s first anatomy lab with cadaver dissection. The latter was made possible by national legislation initiated by a Stanford University Anatomy Professor on behalf of our school. The University of Gitwe recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Nebraska University Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska to partner in the training of its medical students. This alliance opens many opportunities for future development.

{Pictures of Medical School Academic Buildings}

The GITWE HOSPITAL

The governing body of what is today the University of Gitwe established Gitwe Hospital in 1992 to provide a facility for the clinical training of its first private university major, nursing. Graduates of that nursing school now have important positions throughout Rwanda’s medical infrastructure.

The letters from the Ministries of Health and Education accrediting our medical school in May of 2013 mandated that Gitwe Hospital upgrade its facilities to not only continue to provide medical and surgical care to 290,000 Rwandans, but to also meet with the standards of a teaching hospital to serve the needs of the clinical experience necessary to the training of a modern doctor.

In order to comply with the mandate of the Ministers of Health and Education, a 57,829 square foot addition to Gitwe Hospital was recently completed. Furnishing this building is now taking place including 3 modern surgical operating suites. Additionally, Gitwe Hospital maintains 8 related health clinics in the region and a 12 bed in and out patient Tuberculosis Treatment Center made possible by a grant from the Potts Memorial Trust (Hudson, NY), obtained by the Kigali Medical University Foundation. Many International surgical and medical missions are hosted by Gitwe Hospital annually, including cleft lip repair and the only clinic performing thyroidectomies.

An innovation by Gitwe Hospital is the preparation of nutritious meals for the patients of its 400 beds, previously the responsibility of the patient’s family.

{Pictures of Gitwe Hospital, featuring the addition}

KMUF Board

JOHN H. STREIT, MD, President

John H. Streit, MD, FACOG, President

John is a Board Certified Fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. He is a past President of the Saratoga Hospital Medical Staff and Saratoga County Medical Society. Dr. Streit donates his time and efforts on behalf of the Kigali Medical University Foundation in support of the University of Gitwe towards the common goal of strengthening the medical infrastructure for all Rwandans.

903 Locust Grove Road
Greenfield Center, NY 12833
Phone: 518.893.7301
E-mail: info@kmuf.org

DUANE PALMATEER, Director

Duane Palmateer, Secretary and Director

Duane is the founder and President of Greenfield Manufacturing, Inc., a specialty chemical manufacturer since 1998. Greenfield Manufacturing is actively involved in the development and production of water treatment chemistry, efficiency additives for alternative fuel and oil applications, and eco-friendly high-performance coatings for marine applications. He previously held positions at Ashland Chemical and Exxon Chemical.

TIM MABEE, Treasurer and Director

Tim Mabee, Treasurer and Director

Tim is a retired Vice President of the Adirondack Trust Company and serves on their Board of Directors. He also serves on many Saratoga Springs (NY) community boards as an advisor. Tim actively participates in many genealogy societies, including four centuries of tracing the Mabee Family name.

MARCEL URAYENEZA, Director

Marcel Urayeneza,
Director

Marcel is a native of Gitwe, Rwanda. He attended and taught at the University of Gitwe. He earned a MA degree in the United States in Accounting and Financial Management. He has over 15 year experience serving with the Auditor General in Rwanda, and as an auditor with Ernst and Young in Chicago, and now serves as a financial analyst at the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, one of the leading philanthropies.

Abbey Kocan, Special Advisor to the KMUF Board

Abbey Kocan, Special Advisor to the KMUF Board

Abbey continues to be a valued advisor to the KMUF Board leveraging her experience living and working in Tanzania, Rwanda’s neighbor. She is Country Director of the Kupona Foundation which supports the CCBRT facilities in Tanzania, bringing modern medical treatment and innovation in all specialties to previously underserved impoverished populations in that region.

DONATE TO THE CAMPAIGN FOR GITWE

The Campus

The Kigali Medical University Foundation was incorporated in the State of New York in 2007 and was declared an Internal Revenue Service 501 (c) 3 Educational and Charitable Organization the same year. Therefore, all donations are 100% tax deductible and will be recognized with a tax receipt notice. All individuals and organizations that have the desire to support our efforts to train increased numbers of trained doctors to serve Rwanda and Eastern Arfica in addressing their critical shortage of healthcare providers may mail a check to: The Kigali Medical University Foundation, 903 Locust Grove Road, Greenfield Center, New York, 12833, or contribute via payPal below.

ABOUT HEALTH-PACT

Health-pact is a California based 501 (c) 3 organization that has been created by health experts to provide vital support for the University of Gitwe by creating a new safe water project. Health-pact is also currently partnering with KMUF in conducting a fund drive to help bridge the financial gap due to the one time challenges of an expensive Gitwe Hospital addition. You may support this worthy cause by contacting Health-pact.org.