Canadian Anesthesiologists' Society

CASIEF in Rwanda

Rwanda suffered a devastating genocide in 1994, after which there was only one anaesthesiologist in the country for years. Despite a remarkable countrywide regeneration, Rwanda had only a few consultant anaesthetists by 2005. CASIEF was invited to assist with anesthesia resident training at the National University of Rwanda (now University of Rwanda). The educational partnership began in 2006.

The program model has been that Canadian and American volunteer anesthesiologists and senior residents visit Rwanda, one month at a time, for resident teaching and capacity building. Since 2010, donations to CASIEF have enabled over 100 volunteers to teach anesthesia in Rwanda and nine Rwandan anesthesia residents to complete electives in Canada. The program has graduated 14 residents since 2006, increasing the number of staff anesthesiologists threefold.

As the number of anesthesiologists in the country continues to improve, the focus has now shifted to strengthening local teaching skills, offering training in sub-specialized areas of anesthesia and collaborative research. CASIEF is mentoring graduates of the program to be educators and leaders in creating Rwandan solutions for improving perioperative care in Rwanda. The ultimate goal of the CASIEF-Rwanda program is to ensure anesthesia excellence in a self-sustaining program.

CASIEF has supported anesthesia in Rwanda through:

  • Post-graduate teaching and the development of a full anesthesia curriculum focused on anesthesia in the Rwandan context
  • The establishment of a Simulation and Skills Centre for multidisciplinary team-based training
  • Collaborative delivery of five SAFE Obstetric Anesthesia Courses for anesthesia providers (mostly anesthesia technicians working in isolated, under-resourced conditions throughout the country)
  • The establishment of the Rwandan Pain Society including ongoing capacity building of Rwandan pain management teams

The CASIEF Rwanda Volunteer Guide describes the partnership, local context, and volunteer teaching role in detail. The Ikinya Documentary also describes the partnership and impact.


We are currently recruiting volunteers for 2016-17 who can commit to four weeks in Rwanda. Preference is given to returning volunteers, but new volunteers will be considered if space is available. Please contact Program Director, Dr Patty Livingston ( for more information.

Donate Help CASIEF support this important partnership in Rwanda.





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Mailing address:
Canadian Anesthesiologists’ Society, International Education Foundation
1 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 208
Toronto, ON M4P 3A1 CANADA


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