Dr. Christine Niyibogora

Dr. Christine is currently in Israel to advance her skills in anesthesiology.

  1. What’s your name and how old are you?

Dr. Christine Niyibogora, 38 years old.

  1. Where are you from?

I'm from Kigaree, Rwanda. 

  1. What was your childhood like?

It was very simple and my family always lived in the same place. I liked to play and sing. I am the second born of two girls and two boys. 

  1. Why did you want to become a doctor/work in medicine?

When I was in high school, my uncle had an accident. After the accident, he had to go to the hospital and the way he was treated by medical professionals inspired me to be a doctor that could help other people. Before that, I thought I would be a teacher but I completely changed my mind.

  1. Where did you study medicine/ what university did you go to?

University of Rwanda. 

  1. How long did you study?

I was in medical school for 6 years and then studied my residency in anesthesia.  

  1. How did you choose your major/specialty?

I do not want to see people suffering. Anesthesia allows me to help by putting people to sleep so that they can be treated without pain.

  1. Were you always strong in the sciences?

Yes, I was always strong in sciences. It is a must in order to be accepted to medicine in Rwanda in all areas of science including chemistry, biology, and physics. 

  1. How did you do after medical school/training?

After I finished my residency, I worked for 6 years at the local hospital. 

  1. Did someone ever tell you something specific that made you want to pursue medicine as a career?

It is not a result of something someone has said, it has really come from the bottom of my heart.  

  1. Are pediatric cardiac surgeries performed at all in Rwanda?

Pediatric cardiac surgeries are not in daily practice, although there are some sporadic surgeries that have been done. There have been missions from abroad that come once a year to perform cardiac surgeries for one week for around 10 children and then they go back. There is a high demand for cardiac surgeries in Rwanda, but no staff.

  1. When did you hear about SACH?

I heard about SACH in 2022, from an Ethiopian physician that was trained at SACH who is now working in Rwanda doing surgeries regularly. 

  1. How did you get to SACH?

When I first got information from Dr. Yayu, I spoke to someone to learn more and then I got the opportunity to apply through the ministry of health that was in cooperation with SACH.

  1. Were you always thinking of doing a fellowship abroad?

Yes, but it was difficult to find that opportunity. My dream was to pursue a fellowship in pediatric cardiac anesthesia, but it seemed impossible until SACH gave me the opportunity to make my dreams come true. I wanted to do a fellowship because I want to be someone who could help the Rwandan population. 

  1. How long will you be in Israel?

I will be here for 2 years.  

  1. How does it feel to be in Israel for 2 years?

At the beginning it was hard to be far from my family, but now Israel is becoming my second country and I feel at home here. SACH is very nice and hospitable. Everyone at the hospital is also very kind.

  1. What motivates you to train in Israel?

I'm motivated by the experience, knowledge, and skills I will be able to bring home. 

  1. What do people think back home about you being here?

They are proud of me and wanted me to come so I could come back and apply the knowledge and skills I am getting to help the children who are suffering in Rwanda. I have one 10 year old child and we talk everyday, this is just something I have to do.  

  1. Did you have any thoughts about coming to Israel before you arrived?

Everything was a surprise and I did not know what to expect. 

  1. What is your hope for the future?

I would like to be a very nice pediatric cardiac anesthesiologist who can assist patients suffering from cardiac problems without having to wait for people to seldomly come on missions. 

  1. Where will you work when you return home?

I will return to the King Faisal Hospital in Rwanda. 

  1. Anything else you’d like to say about SACH/anything else you think I’ve missed about your story?

I would like to thank the management of SACH that has offered me the opportunity to come to Israel and build my fellowship.