What was your childhood like?
My name is Dr. Lise Mumporexze and I’m 35 years old. I’m from Kigali, Rwanda. My childhood had some difficult periods. My entire family was killed in the genocide against Tutsi. Both of my parents were teachers, and I had three brothers. However, they all died in the genocide against Tutsi. I was adopted by my cousin, with whom I'm still very close today. I miss the innocence and friendships, but overall, I had a good childhood with mostly good memories.
Why did you want to become a doctor?
I don't feel like I chose medicine; rather, it chose me. Originally, I wanted to pursue something else and placed medicine last on my list when applying to university. I was also highly curious, an avid reader, and had a keen interest in science. My initial aspiration was to become a journalist. Despite ranking it as my last choice, I was accepted into the medical program due to my high grades. Although I still had the option to pursue a different path, I knew deep down that I wanted to engage in something significant, and it felt like fate.
When did you know you wanted to go into medicine?
Once I had my first contact with a patient, I knew that being a doctor was what I truly wanted. I desired the opportunity to make decisions that could directly impact people's lives, and I understood that it would require me to wholeheartedly commit myself to the profession. I came to the realization that my decisions hold the power to significantly impact the lives of complete strangers. Every time I provide treatment to a patient, I understand that I am not only caring for the individual but also their entire family.
Where did you study medicine/ what university did you go to
I attended the University of Rwanda. I studied general medicine for six years, specialized training for four years, and completed a one-year internship, making it a total of 11 years.
How did you choose your specialty?
My specialty is Emergency Medicine and Critical Care. On one occasion, I was called in for resuscitation, and the patient required assistance with a ventilator. Everyone was awaiting my guidance, but I was unfamiliar with operating the ventilator. Fortunately, a colleague arrived, intubated the patient, and transferred them. It was during this experience that I realized I never wanted to find myself in a similar situation again, where I desired to help and resolve the situation but lacked the necessary knowledge. I aspired to make a contribution in bridging the gap for those who are unsure of what to do, so that more people can receive the assistance they need.
What did you do after medical school/training?
I served as the head of the emergency unit at the leading hospital in Rwanda. Currently, I continue to hold the position as the department head at the University of Rwanda, overseeing the anesthesia, critical care, and emergency care units.
Are pediatric cardiac surgeries performed at all in Rwanda?
Yes, but it is not a very established program which is why I got inspired to get involved with children who have cardiac problems. There are two former Save a Child's Heart trainees that have come back and perform around two operations weekly. There is also a team of a few Save a Child's Heart doctors that are in Rwanda from Ethiopia.
When did you hear about Save a Child's Heart?
A call for applications was announced by the Minister of Health, seeking trainees in various specialties such as anesthesia, surgery, and more. With the background information I had, I made the decision to submit an application. I successfully went through an interview process and was selected for the opportunity. It required me to take some time off from my other jobs, but fortunately, everyone around me was incredibly supportive. Soon after, I made flight bookings in preparation for the next steps.
Were you always thinking of doing a fellowship abroad?
The idea of furthering my knowledge and skills was not new to me, and I had always been aware of my desire to pursue growth and development, regardless of whether it meant going abroad or not. Recognizing the insufficient resources available in Rwanda, I became increasingly aware of the gaps in my profession as my career progressed. It became evident that part of my role was to teach and continuously expand my own knowledge. Given my passion for child care, I viewed this opportunity as a tremendous chance to make a significant impact.
How does it feel to be in Israel?
The people here are kind, and the working environment is pleasant, which helps me feel comfortable and not intimidated. Although I am still adjusting to the new surroundings and will miss my family dearly, overall, everything else is perfect. I have two young children, aged 2 and 5, as well as my husband back at home, but I make sure to talk to them daily to stay connected. My training program is 2-2.5 years.
What do people think back home about you being here?
I have been fortunate to receive tremendous support from everyone around me. While some friends expressed surprise at the risk involved in leaving my children, they ultimately respected and understood my decision. However, the person who has been the most supportive throughout this journey is my husband. He encouraged me to pursue what I believed was necessary, understanding the importance of fulfilling my responsibilities.
Did you have any thoughts about coming to Israel before you arrived?
I experienced a range of emotions when considering the move to a new country, but one motivating factor was knowing that the people in Israel are known for their intelligence. This understanding served as a source of inspiration and encouragement for me as I embarked on this new chapter.
What is your hope for the future?
My primary aspiration is to successfully pass my upcoming exam, complete my training, and return to join the cardiac care team at King Faisal Hospital in Rwanda. It is my sincere desire to contribute to the growth of the program by assisting in the training of more individuals. I am eager to play a part in expanding the reach and impact of the cardiac care initiatives in my home country.
Where will you work when you return home?
I will continue both of my jobs at the King Faisel Hospital and the University of Rwanda.
Anything else you’d like to say about Save a Child's Heart?
Being here has surpassed my expectations in terms of the amount of knowledge I have gained. I have come to realize that nothing is truly impossible. When faced with a condition that is commonly deemed untreatable, I am motivated to set higher standards for myself and persevere. My vision is expanding, and I maintain a strong curiosity to continue learning because there is so much more we can accomplish, even in cases that textbooks suggest are untreatable. I express my heartfelt gratitude to the Save a Child's Heart team, who have warmly welcomed me and made me feel like an integral part of the team. I have seamlessly integrated into the group and immediately felt a sense of purpose and value.