Claire Karekezi is shown at Toronto Western Hospital on Tuesday, May 8, 2018. In early July, the 35-year-old will return home as the first and only female neurosurgeon in Rwanda after completing her training in Toronto, where she has spent the last year honing her skills in neuro-oncology and skull base surgery, specializing in the removal of brain tumours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Galit Rodan
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Claire Karekezi Is The First And Only Female Neurosurgeon In Rwanda

An overcomer of the massacre that cleared Rwanda more than two decades back is impacting the world forever as the nation’s first female neurosurgeon.

Claire Karekezi longed for turning into a specialist in the midst of a youth scarred by massacre. Toward the beginning of July, the 35-year-old will return home as the solitary female neurosurgeon in Rwanda.

As a kid experiencing childhood in Rwanda amid the 1980s and ’90s, Claire Karekezi longed for turning into a specialist. In any case, what she calls her “directing star” has taken her a long ways past that underlying objective to join the positions of what is maybe prescription’s most requesting claim to fame.

Claire Karekezi was brought up in Rwanda. She finished her therapeutic school and qualified as a Medical Doctor (MD) from the University of Rwanda (UR) in March, 2009.

Claire’s LinkedIn Profile:

“My story with Neurosurgery starts In June, 2007 while on my 5th year of Medical training; I had the opportunity to be in an exchange program through the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA) and the chance to be in the Department of Neurosurgery at the Linkoping Teaching Hospital (Sweden) under Professor Jan Hillman, Professor of Neurosurgery, Chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery; who became a crucial element in my career becoming my very first Mentor. This was a huge inspiration to Neurosurgery as for the first time I had seen and touched the “Human Brain”.

Later in February 2009, I was selected for the very competitive “Elective program” at Oxford University/John Radcliffe Hospital (Neurosurgery Department), and spent 6 weeks observing Dr Cadoux-Houdson. It was then clear in my head: I knew I wanted to become a Neurosurgeon!! Where? How? I had no idea!!! That time Rwanda barely had 1 Neurosurgeon/11M and no local training program in Neurosurgery!”

Despite almost insurmountable difficulties for such practice and training in my Country and the rest of Africa, I did not give up. April 2011, I was finally admitted for a full five-year residency program at Mohamed V University/Rabat WFNS Reference center for the training of African Neurosurgeons thanks to Pr. El Khamlichi A and his team. I graduated as a Neurosurgeon in may 2016.

I, from July 2017 joined my clinical fellowship in NeuroOncology and Skull Base Surgery at Toronto Western Hospital/UHN/UofT for a year and have had an incredible opportunity to be with the Giants in Neurosurgery.
I wish to contribute to the Neuro-Oncology Practice in Rwanda and SSA. I will be becoming the first Female Neurosurgeon in my country and hope to be an inspiration to young female wishing to become Neurosurgeons.

Claire has spent the last year at Toronto Western Hospital, honing her skills in neuro-oncology and skull base surgery, specializing in the removal of brain tumours.

Providing that service to brain cancer patients in a country with only one hospital-based MRI and few CT scanners will be a daunting task, but it’s one Karekezi is determined to overcome, just as she has all the challenges and sacrifices needed to fulfil her childhood dream.


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