President Paul Kagame and First Lady Jeannette Kagame on Monday joined the inauguration of the School of Medicine of the Adventist University of East-Central Africa in Gasabo District.
Pastor Ted Wilson, the leader of the governing body of the Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) Church, also joined the unveiling of the state-of-the-art medical facilities that will host the Adventist School of Medicine of East-Central Africa (ASOME).
“Congratulations on this milestone which is a most valuable addition to Rwanda’s education and health system,” Kagame told the hundreds of church leaders and members from the region and elsewhere across the world who had gathered to witness the launch of the school.
The school was launched at a time the SDA community in Rwanda is celebrating a hundred years of existence.
The Head of State took the opportunity to salute the Church for “marking one hundred years of serving the spiritual and social needs of Rwandans.”
During this time, he said, the Church has been a valued partner of the Government in the provision of healthcare and education, and that a century of Adventist activity in Rwanda has demonstrated the positive impact of shared vision and good collaboration.
The medical school, located at the Adventist University of Central Africa (AUCA) at its Masoro Campus, is one of the projects through which the Church was looking to bolster its impact in Rwanda and the region.
“By fulfilling your pledge to establish a medical school serving East and Central Africa, you have reaffirmed your commitment to a productive partnership that benefits not only Rwanda but the entire region,” Kagame said.
The President added that the achievement which was being celebrated was aligned with Rwanda’s goals.
“Education, particularly in science and technology, as well as good affordable healthcare, are the foundation of the well-being and prosperity of our citizens. This requires qualified professionals, trained in high-quality universities such as this one, which are equipped with the latest technology,” he noted.
Kagame also highlighted that medical students at the new school will benefit from the extensive network of Adventist institutions around the world, as well as association with a brand that stands for excellence.
The newly inaugurated medical school is one of the networks of academic institutions that the Adventist Church runs across the world.
It is the second of its kind in Africa after Babcock University in Nigeria.
The development makes Rwanda the seventh country in the world to have an Adventist medical school after Argentina, Mexico, Nigeria, Peru, Philippines, and the United States.
The school was the first phase of a bigger project that the Church was undertaking in Rwanda. The four-phased project will also see the construction of a university teaching hospital and other facilities.
Blasious Ruguri, the President of the East Central Africa Division, which covers 11 countries, said the new school was the result of the commitment of the Adventist Church.
“This is only the first phase,” he added, highlighting that the vision is to position the learning centre as a facility that will make a pivotal impact across the region.
Ruguri particularly mentioned that they were looking for more land and financial resources to expand their reach and realise that vision, to which President Kagame pledged Government support.
“We will find land, as well as money to add to what is already there. I think we all need this befitting hospital sooner rather than later. We will do it,” Kagame told church members, adding that the Government will play its part by continuing to invest in infrastructure, vocational skills and a conducive policy environment.
The medical school sits on 22 hectares of land. It is designed to become a centre of excellence in the region, serving eleven countries, including Rwanda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda, Somalia, Eritrea, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Djibouti.
It has several facilities, like the Adrian Paul Cooper Science Complex, which will host nine laboratories of anatomy, physiology, immunology, microbiology, parasitology, biochemistry and histo-pathology.
The facilities also comprise of a simulation and skills lab as well as research and innovation labs.