RUBAVU - Government’s efforts to have residents access affordable medical care have been affected at Gisenyi Hospital, due to the Ministry of Health’s delay to disburse funds meant for the health insurance scheme.
The ministry is supposed to send money on after every three months to district hospitals country-wide, to subsidise the Rwf1000 that residents pay.
However, the hospitals management say the ministry has accumulated a huge debt arising out of what amounts to excessive bureaucratic red tape in disbursement procedures.
“The Ministry owed us more than Rwf117million of mutuelle de sante funds and recently, they paid only Rwf 37million- this is naturally bound to affect our operations,” Jeanne d’Arc Uwibambe, the hospital administrator said in an interview with The New Times, at her office.
According to Uwibambe, the debt has been accumulating steadily from September last year.
“As you see, we cannot rehabilitate the hospital… or buy all drugs needed. You find that we focus on buying emergency drugs and to fuel the ambulance and that is just about everything that we do,” she said.
Augustine Rulinda, officer in charge of the community health scheme at the hospital, said all other organisations with insurance cover clear their bills for patients who are treated on credit apart from the ministry.“We have the challenge of allocating the little they give us,” he said.
Speaking to The New Times, Stratton Ngirumatse, officer in charge of the health scheme in the district, said that the financial constraints are affecting all hospitals and the problem lies between the ministries of health and that of finance.
“The Health Ministry is supposed to pay 60 percent of bills and the district to pay 20 percent, while the hospital through health centres are to pay remaining 20 percent but, the issue remains with the health ministry which doesn’t honour its commitment so far,” Singirumatse said.