As part of their partnership, Rhineland-Palatinate region of Germany and Rwanda foster the exchange of knowledge in hospital management, medical professions and psychiatric care by funding mutual visits of their local experts as this profile reveals
In the course of this exchange, two young scholarship holders visited Pfalzklinikum, service provider for mental health: With a firm handshake and a warm smile John Wilson Niyigena was welcomed in Klingenmünster. Starting at the beginning of September the 35-year old man from Rwanda gained experience as a scholarship holder in the clinical pharmacy of Pfalzklinikum for four weeks.
John Wilson Niyigena had studied at universities in Rwanda and Kenya and holds a Master’s degree in business administration. For more than seven years he has worked as a project manager in the Rwanda Biomedical Center. He was in Germany for the first time. “I would like to see how the distribution and purchase of drugs works here and I want to establish contacts with suppliers”, the 35-year old man says. For the duration of his scholarship he lived in Bad Bergzabern. John Wilson Niyigena also gained insights into other Pfalzklinikum locations. Amongst others, he took part in pharmaceutical inspections in the day centers in Rockenhausen and Kaiserslautern in the northwestern part of the Palatinate, in Germany. Additionally, the scholarship holder had the opportunity to get to know better his colleagues and the sights of the Palatinate during several excursions.
After his four-week stay at Pfalzklinikum, John Wilson Niyigena moved to Kaiserslautern where the scholarship holder was also employed in the clinical pharmacy of Westpfalz-Klinikum until the end of October 2017. In return, his colleague Jean d’Amour Ruhigira came to the clinical pharmacy in Klingenmünster for some weeks. The 28-year old pharmacist has completed a Bachelor of Science programme in pharmacy in his home country Rwanda and wanted to extend his knowledge of logistics, marketing, client acquisition and pharmaceutical products.
For two years he worked as a pharmacist with the company Gilmed Rwanda Ltd., in the capital Kigali. His experience with international partners in Belgium, India and Turkey proved to be as interesting for the clinical pharmacy, as a possible access to the Rwandan market for which Jean d’Amour Ruhigira had offered his support.
The young executive and his fellow countryman John Wilson Niyigena were in Germany for the first time. “Here, I would like to get to know a new way of working“, Jean d’Amour Ruhigira explains. He gave an account of the different ways of working in the two countries. He reported that in Rwanda it was not usual practice to focus on one activity only. He illustrated that in his home country a different way of working was practiced, and many activities took place side by side.
Here in Germany, he was fascinated by the fact that in the first instance, one task was worked on in a focused manner and only after its completion, the next task was started. Apart from his service in the pharmacy, the 28-year old man visited the Wine Festival in Neustadt together with colleagues from Pfalzklinikum. The exchange programme is promoted by the state of Rhineland-Palatinate and the organisation icunet looked after the executives receiving a scholarship for their stay. Prior to their employment in enterprises, the experts from Rwanda had undergone via icunet a three-week cultural orientation in Germany.
Knowledge exchange at an eye-level
Pfalzklinikum has established good contacts with the partner country since 2016. It cooperates with Ndera Hospital in Kigali, the largest neuro-psychiatric provider. Delegations from the Palatinate and Rwanda paid visits to each other and exchanged their views on their respective fields of work.
For three years starting in 2017, Pfalzklinikum has been a project partner of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation in the project “500 clinic partnerships” supported by the Else Fresenius foundation. Its focus is on the establishment of community-based psychiatric structures and self-help as well as clinical work and the exchange of knowledge.
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