Public hospitals in Rwf3.5 billion debt

Drugs on shelves in a pharmacy in Kigali. Net photo.

Public hospitals across the country have a staggering debt of Rwf 3.5 billion, due to the unpaid money for the medicine they purchase from district pharmacies.

This was revealed on Monday by Dr Patrick Ndimubanzi, the State Minister in charge of Public Health and Primary Health Care, during a plenary session in which lawmakers and ministry officials discussed the draft law that will regulate procurement of medical supplies.

The minister said that, while the Rwf3.5 billion is the money that district pharmacies owe to Medical Production, Procurement and Distribution Division (MPPD), it actually stems from the debt public hospitals have for pharmacies.

Ndimubanzi said that the debt will be cleared once Rwanda Social Security board (RSSB) pays the hospitals the money it owes them for public health insurance, mainly Mutuelle de Santé.

He explained how the debt is having an effect, saying that: “Normally, MPPD supplies medicines to district pharmacies, which they in turn sell to hospitals but after they have to be paid by RSSB.”

This means that RSSB has to pay public hospitals, which are supposed to pay the district pharmacies.

We hope that debt will be paid,” the Minister stated.

The issue is part of the problems that have prompted the process to establish an independent medical supplies body, which will take over the responsibility of MPPD.

The new agency will also inherit the operations of Rwanda Pharmaceutical Laboratory (LABOPHAR) and district pharmacies.