A member of the 18th China Medical Team in Rwanda examines a patient on Wednesday. (Photo/Xinhua)
The 18th China Medical Team in Rwanda began a week of free treatment on Wednesday in Rwanda's Kibungo town. Hundreds of residents gathered at the clinic in Kibungo, Eastern province, around 9:30 a.m. to seek help from the Chinese doctors. The doctors - who come from the fields of orthopedics, internal medicine, surgery, stomatology, acupuncture, anesthesiology and maternity - provided consultation and treatment. They also donated medicine.
"I have been suffering from painful swollen legs for the past two years and have visited several healthcare centers in my area," said Jean d'Arc Mukandutiye, 47, who received a diagnosis, medicines and a recommendation for further medical checkups from the Chinese doctors.
"It's expensive to get a checkup and treatment in the hospital. I tried, but I couldn't afford it," the mother of seven said.
The patients at the site reported health problems ranging from their teeth to malaria, hypertension, diabetes, reproductive health, influenza, arthritis, typhoid and skin diseases.
Emmanuel Ndayambaje, 60, who has suffered severe headaches for the past six months, said the health centers he visited failed to diagnose the problem. But the Chinese doctors were able to explain the cause to him, he said.
He expressed his gratitude for the free service, as it had been difficult for him to get help in Kigali because of his financial constraints.
Eugenie Imurinde, head of the Kibungo clinic, thanked the doctors for their work.
"Many patients, especially in rural areas, fail to get treatment even for minor problems because of a lack of money, and sometimes the long distances involved," Imurinde said.
"When our clinic can't handle complicated health problems and refer these patients to hospitals, the may choose not to go because they don't have the money," she said.
Providing free treatment and convenience for Rwandans is one of the Chinese medical teams' main assignments, according to team leader Lu Jun.
China began sending medical teams to Rwanda in 1982. Hundreds of Chinese medical professionals have worked in Rwanda since then.