The School of Dentistry at the University of Rwanda (UR SoD) College of Medicine and Health Sciences will soon graduate its first ever “pioneer” class of 14 dentists with degrees of Bachelors of Dental Surgery (BDS). The students’ emergence into the marketplace will be an exciting moment for the University and indeed for all Rwandans. The newly minted oral health professionals will be trained to provide preventive, restorative and emergent care including fillings, dentures, root canals and crowns.
The School of Dentistry was launched in 2013 in collaboration with Harvard School of Dental Medicine (HSDM) and University of Maryland School of Dentistry as part of the Human Resources for Health (HRH) Rwanda program. Knowing that since 2008 tooth and gum diseases have been the leading cause of morbidity in district hospitals and recognizing the shared risk factors and close associations between oral disease and major non-communicable diseases, the former Honorable Minister of Health wanted to mitigate these risks in Rwanda. She insisted that dentistry be included as one of the specialty training areas in the HRH program.
Recently, Associate Dean Jane Barrow and Dr. Donna Hackley, PI for HRH Dentistry at HSDM visited the school to appraise the progress to date and to bolster their close ties to the Deans Chrispinus Mumena and Agnes Gatarayiha and the faculty at the school. Given the heavy investment in the BDS program, Dean Barrow and Dr. Hackley were pleased to see that the first cohort of students was on target for graduation in October 2018. While they admit that it has been a long journey to navigate this first class through the maze of academic challenges, they are confident with the strong collaboration with their Rwandan colleagues that the students would come through this final year of training successfully.
“It is inspiring to see how much has evolved here at UR SoD in such a short time. The students are so engaged and eager to learn. The faculty and Dean are to be commended for their efforts and accomplishments - they have created and are running three programs with over 200 students! Work remains in order to complete the BDS curriculum, but congratulations to all on achievements to date. I look forward to celebrating for the first BDS graduation in 2018!”
Dean Jane Barrow