The Construction of Gatonde Hospital in Gakenke District has stalled since February this year by what district officials call shortage of funds, forcing residents to trek long distances for healthcare services.
The Government pledged to construct the hospital back in 1999 but put the plan on hold until the President renewed the commitment seven years later during his visit to the district.
The President had been disappointed by the slow pace at which district authorities were implementing the project.
“I want this issue to get addressed as soon as possible,” the President told officials during his visit in Gakenke on March 24, 2016.
The ministries of health, local government, defence and finance were tasked to fast-track the project. Construction activities kicked off in March 2017 with a target to complete the works within one year.
But, when construction works reached at 64 per cent, they suddenly stopped due to what the Mayor of Gakenke District, Deogratious Nzamwita, calls shortage of funds.
Jean de Dieu Nsanzubuhoro, one of the residents, said: “We don’t really know where the problem is.”
The Minister for Health, Dr Diane Gashumba, said the completion of Gatonde hospital will depend on the availability of funds.
“It’s all about sharing the financial resources that we have as a country. The contractors did not plan to halt the works,” she said.
However, the minister did not reveal when the construction will resume, advising Gakenke locals to continue using existing health centres.
“My wish is that construction works resume as soon as possible but I can’t tell you whether it will happen next month or within two months,” she said.
Once completed, Gatonde Hospital will be providing specialised services. It will be located in an area with several health centres including Shyira, Nemba, Musanze and Ruli.
“It will be having some specialties like cesarean section, dental services etc.,” the minister said.
Gatonde Hospital will be serving thousands of residents from six sectors of Gakenke District, namely Busengo, Janja, Muzo, Mugunga, Rusasa and Cyabingo.