There is a worldwide shortage of rheumatologists that is especially critical in low/middle income countries. As a result, rheumatology care in these countries is often provided by non-rheumatology clinicians. Rheumatology for All has successfully sponsored two Ethiopian physicians for fellowship training in rheumatology. They are currently providing care for patients in Ethiopia and just as important teaching rheumatology to medical students and physicians in training. In our last newsletter we introduced Hanna Lishan, a pediatrician from Ethiopia, who will begin her fellowship in pediatric rheumatology in Johannesburg, South Africa in January of 2023.
RFA is thrilled to introduce our next candidate for training, Jean Paul Basabose from Kigali, Rwanda. He will complete a two-year fellowship in rheumatology in Durban, South Africa. I quote Jean Paul, ” I have extensive clinical and teaching experience in my daily practice. I manage patients with internal medicine diseases and provide teaching to medical students. Among my patients, a significant number present with musculoskeletal conditions including rheumatic disease. I have realized that rheumatic disease needs to be emphasized because if not well treated, they can cause disability, morbidity, and death. I know this fellowship will provide me with clinical and research training skills required in rheumatology. At the completion of my studies, I will be delighted to come back to my country and provide more accurate management to patients with rheumatic diseases and I will also provide my contribution in training of future medical doctors and rheumatologists.”
Dr. Basabose’s Rheumatology fellowship will be supported largely by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada’s International Development, Aid and Collaboration (IDAC) funding program facilitated by Royal College International. The program has supported 20 projects since 2019 that aim to improve health profession education and local capacity in low- and middle-income countries. (https://newsroom.royalcollege.ca/supporting-fellows-involved-with-international-aid-efforts/)
The IDAC grant will also support the ongoing development of additional educational materials for our virtual Rheumatology course for Internal Medicine residents in training at the University of Kigali Medical School. This course is provided by an international team of volunteer rheumatologists and has been well received by both students and the medical faculty at the University of Rwanda’s College of Medicine and Health Sciences. RFA plans to repeat the course in 2023.
By providing fellowship training in rheumatology for local physicians, RFA is building the intellectual infrastructure so academic centers in Ethiopia and Rwanda will eventually have the capacity to train their own specialists in rheumatology. The people we have chosen for fellowship training, all made a commitment to do this. RFA will assist them as best we can to achieve these goals. By providing rheumatology teaching to student doctors, RFA is increasing awareness of rheumatology and will hopefully spark interest in others to pursue rheumatology education. This will improve the overall care of rheumatology patients.
Musculoskeletal conditions are the most common cause of disability worldwide. It is our mission that people, no matter their location, will have access to rheumatology care. We thank you for your continued support.