Improving Healthcare in Rwanda

Project Details

Clinicians at the University of Rwanda develop short-term research projects suitable for completion by teams of two University of Virginia students within the span of a month. Typically, these will be retrospective assessments of data collected in clinical practice. Examples include: (1) assessing the incidence of complications after cesarean section, (2) measuring the complication rate in patients admitted to the ICU, and (3) evaluating instruction given to HIV-positive, breastfeeding mothers, as well as their understanding of this instruction. Projects are often developed by Rwanda residents, who also act as primary mentors of the student teams. Overall guidance is provided by Dr. Ruhato, Chair of the Departments of Anesthesiology and Emergency Medicine.

Additional opportunities for research may become available at the University of Global Health Equity in Rwanda.

Project History

The Canadian Anesthesiologists’ Society and the American Society of Anesthesiologists have been assisting the Department of Anesthesiology at the University of Rwanda since 2006 by providing visiting teachers on a continuous basis. The University of Virginia is an active collaborator in this ongoing project. In 2009, Dr. Robin Petroze, resident in the Department of Surgery at the University of Virginia, started a two-year stay in Rwanda for research purposes, resulting in active collaboration with surgical counterparts and the Ministry of Health in Rwanda.

In 2012, the Rwandan government announced the start of an innovative partnership—The Human Resources for Health (HRH) plan—with the US government and 13 U.S. medical, nursing, and public health schools to expand training opportunities in Rwanda. The University of Virginia was an early and active participant in this program, with Dr. Calland (Surgery) and Dr. Durieux (Anesthesiology) serving as leads for their respective departments.


Projects are performed at the main teaching hospitals in Rwanda.