The Bigogwe Project

The Rotary Club of Newcastle upon Tyne supported a rural Health Centre in North-West Rwanda by providing an ultrasound scanner for the maternity department


Following an after-lunch talk to our Club by Dr James Derrick about the on-going work of the Bigogwe Health Centre in North-West Rwanda, the Project Committee agree to raise funds to enable the purchase of an ultrasound scanner for use in the maternity department of the Health Centre.
The history of the project is interesting. Ten years ago, what is now the Bigogwe Health Centre was a set of derelict buildings. Erected in 1992, it had been intended for a health centre but the Rwandan genocide of 1994 meant that it was never used as such.   The Government did not have the resources to develop it so, in 2004, the site was handed over to the Anglican Church in Rwanda to use as a health centre.  Since then, with considerable assistance from Dr Derrick and the Bigogwe Trust, a charitable trust he founded, the Bigogwe Health Centre was opened in 2005 and is now a major healthcare facility providing both inpatient and outpatient care. It includes a busy maternity unit which, since October 2010, has been able to offer a surgical facility. 

Though the Government provides salaries and some equipment, it will not pay for improvements to Infrastructure or new buildings. Much of the work has had to be funded by charities, including the Bigogwe Trust  which , apart from funding the initial rehabilitation of the buildings, has also provided living quarters for nurses and their helpers; equipment for the operating theatre,  housing for two doctors;  septic tanks for drainage; provision of water throughout the site and help with transport expenses .

With the assistance of personal donations from several member of our Club, grants from Project Committee funds and a grant of £650 from Rotary Foundation, through the District Simplified Grant Scheme, the Rotary Club of Newcastle upon Tyne was able to provide over £2,000 to the Bigogwe Trust, which was sufficient to enable a portable ultrasonic scanner to be provided for use in the maternity department.  This was sourced and purchase by Dr Derrick, taken out by him in his personal luggage when he visited the Health Centre in March 2011 and is now in regular use there. James said, "I am extremely grateful to members of the Rotary Club of Newcastle upon Tyne for their very generous gift towards an obstetric scanner for Bigogwe Health Centre. This will greatly increase the efficiency of the new Caesarean Section Unit and at the same time improve the safety of both mother and baby."