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The goal of IOWD’s pediatric team is to contribute to ongoing efforts to improve neonatal outcomes, which remains a priority area for Rwanda. Our approach is two-pronged: we deliver direct patient care to complement our obstetric and surgical teams and conduct educational seminars for families and medical personnel. Our signature initiative is training Rwandan physicians and nurses in neonatal resuscitation.  With support from generous donors, we raised funds to furnish the neonatal unit at Kibagabaga District Hospital with equipment essential for newborn respiratory support, including continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines, and trained Rwandan staff in their use and maintenance.  We look forward to expanding our pediatric program and are committed to helping the children of Rwanda thrive.

When I joined IOWD as a medical student, I met Dr. Michael Yaker, a pediatrician from Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, who gave me intensive training in pediatrics, especially in neonatal resuscitation. Through the entire week we spent together I worked closely with him to train doctors, midwives, and nurses from various district hospitals and health centers. After Dr. Yaker left, I continued to train other physicians and nurses I work with. One early Monday morning, I saw the positive impact of the golden minute Dr. Yaker stressed in the training. A baby was born but he could not cry. Immediately after this assessment, one of the nurses stimulated the baby and cleared his airway. Still he did not breathe. So the nurse started breathing for the baby with a bag mask and soon after, the baby started crying and breathing on his own. I was overjoyed to see how the nurse applied the theory about neonatal resuscitation we talked about in the training. I cannot thank IOWD enough - especially Barbara - for all her unending efforts to bring these physicians to share their experiences, train and inspire young doctors and other medical professionals. My special thanks go to Dr. Yaker.

Athanase Rukundo MD
Medical Intern, Rwanda

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