MPs' probe into Mutuelle de Sante performance starts

Members of a parliamentary special commission set up to investigate the Ministry of Health, yesterday, held their first meeting to agree on the methodology they will use to conduct their work.
Patients await medical service at Kicukiro Health Centre. (File)
Patients await medical service at Kicukiro Health Centre. (File)

Members of a parliamentary special commission set up to investigate the Ministry of Health, yesterday, held their first meeting to agree on the methodology they will use to conduct their work.

Issues that will be investigated include the poor performance of the community health insurance scheme, Mutuelle de Santé, whose subscription base has dropped in recent years.

The investigators will also look into poor coordination in the delivery of healthcare across the country, tackling issues such as overcrowding in referral hospitals.

The MPs were also irked by reports that equipment is procured, delivered to hospitals, but remains idle.

MP Adolphe Bazatoha, who heads the commission, told the media shortly after the meeting that their work will last for 45 days effective yesterday, which means that they will submit their report to Parliament at the end of next month.

“There is a lot of work ahead given the number of issues that have been raised. We will investigate all of the questions that the MPs have asked the Minister for Health,” Bazatoha said.

Another burning issue to be assessed by the special team is malaria. The legislators demanded to know why cases of malaria were increasing, yet the country had previously managed to significantly cut down malaria infections.

There are also reports that the ministry procured bed nets that were not good enough to protect users from mosquitoes.

How decision came about

The decision to set up a special parliamentary team to investigate issues at the Ministry of Health was reached at two weeks ago after Dr Agnes Binagwaho, the health minister, appeared before Parliament and her explanations on various issues left the lawmakers in doubt.

“We need to bring answers to Parliament because the minister could not satisfy lawmakers with her answers. We hope to get more answers because we are a small team with ample time to assess the issues,” Bazatoha said.

Working in-camera, the special commission will read different reports about the work of the Ministry of Health, talk to different people, including minister Binagwaho, and visit places where necessary to understand the nature of issues surrounding service delivery in the health sector.

While issues of poor service delivery have marred the health sector, with some reports alleging corruption and conflict of interest involving senior staff of the ministry, Dr Binagwaho has said she is ready to shed more light on the issues raised until the MPs understand how the ministry has handled the health sector.

“I just feel that they (MPs) need more explanations and we are going to give them more explanations,” Dr Binagwaho told The New Times after appearing before the legislators two weeks ago.

The parliamentary special commission chaired by Bazatoha also has seven other members.

They are Marie Rose Mureshyankwano, Marie Médiatrice Izabiriza, Evariste Kalisa, Jean Thierry Karemera, Théoneste Karenzi, Alfred Rwasa Kayiranga, and Jeanne Henriette Mukabikino.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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