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Rebuilding in Rwanda

Ron Sekkel from the Scotts Valley Rotary Club (and a famous “PDG” — Past District Governor) presented our program today, sharing his experiences helping resupply an emergency medical hospital in the town of Butare, Rwanda, after the Rwandan genocide of the 1990’s.

Scotts Valley Rotary raised $9,000 in cash, District 5170 added $25,000 in DDF (which was matched by The Rotary Foundation), and project volunteers shipped and installed cardiac monitoring equipment, a telemetry monitoring system, three ventilators, and other assorted devices.

For additional perspective, we have reprinted an article from the District 5170 Newsletter (November 2005 in PDF):

In early 2004 a member of the Scotts Valley Rotary went to Rwanda with Bob Pagett, president of Assist International, to survey the needs and to make contact with the local Rotary Club.

They found a large hospital in the town of Butare that served about two million people. The hospital needed equipment, specifically, cardiac monitoring equipment. The Scotts Valley Rotary took the lead and partnered with various clubs in district 5170 and with the Rotary Club in Rwanda. The $25,000 in DDF funds that were raised were matched by TRF and $9,000 was raised in cash to complete the project. It was decided to send cardiac monitoring devices for the Intensive and Critical Care departments of the hospital. Also, a telemetry monitoring system was included that could monitor mobile patients. Three ventilators and other assorted devices associated with cardiac care were also included.

In 2005 the equipment was shipped and a team of eight left for Rwanda to install the equipment and to instruct the resident personnel on how to use and maintain the equipment. Within a week, the equipment was being used and lives were being saved.

The closure ceremony was attended by Rwanda’s Foreign Minister, a delegation from the Dept. of Health and a representative from the US Embassy. It was covered by national and local press and television. After the numerous speeches and an impressive performance by local dancers the team left for the other side of the country to visit the “Mountain Gorillas”. On the top of a mountain there was a work crew clearing trails with machetes. One of the workers came to one of the team and said, “I know who you are. I saw you on TV. Please thank the people of America for sending the machines that will save peoples lives in Rwanda.”

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