Rwandans have been urged to play a role in supporting patients financially and morally to help them get well soon as what they need is not medical treatment alone.
The call was made by officials, yesterday, during celebration of the World Day of the Sick at Kigali Central University Teaching Hospital (CHUK).
Officials said patients do not only need medical treatment but whatever can help them live better financially and morally whenever one is sick can help them cure as fast as possible.
The day was marked by prayers and entertainment, as well as donations to the needy patients to comfort and support them.
According to Dr Theobald Hategekimana, the hospital director, caring and supporting patients should be everyone’s responsibility since while medics can heal physical diseases, patients also need more and financial support so that they do not feel as if nobody cares.
“As medics, we offer treatment of the main disease but patients also need moral support to heal their hearts. It is always hard for one to heal the real disease if the patient’s heart is not healed,” Dr Hategekimana said.
He added CHUK needs more support from partners and good Samaritans as it receives a big number of patients, some of whom do not have medical insurance, accident victims without identifications, among others.
Currently, the hospital works with over 190 groups that support patients by giving them foodstuff and other materials while they also pay money for needy patients.
However, Hakegekimana said more support is still needed to ensure more patients are treated without the hospital falling into losses through unpaid medical bills.
The hospital counts losses of between Rwf20 million and Rwf40 million per year in unpaid medical bills for the poor, the medical director said.
On average, the hospital receives over 140,000 patients per year of whom 13,000 are hospitalised.
“While our prime responsibility is to save lives, it is almost impossible without everyone’s support, it is a responsibility of everyone to play a role to ensure patients we treat are morally and financially supported,” he said.
Prevention of NCDs
Dr Joseph Ntibiringirwa, health facilities officer at the Ministry of Health, urged prevention of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), which he said are a serious burden to various hospitals and cost a lot of money to the individuals and to the nation.
“Everyone can get sick but we have to put in more efforts to prevent NCDs as they have become a huge burden while they are preventable. It is a serious issue that everyone should deal with as they are expensive and dangerous,” he said.
Patients were cheerful as they joined officials during celebrations, saying the external support received help them improve their health conditions and give them hope to get well soon.
“We are thankful for the support we get from both medics and external partners who support the needy patients giving them food and materials. Without them, life would be more complicated,” said Issa Bagambiki, who spoke on behalf of the patients.
The World Day of the Sick was instituted by Pope John Paul II in 1992 and was celebrated the next year to become an annual event worldwide. It is marked annually on February 11.
The day is an opportunity to reflect in particular on the needs of the sick and, generally, of all those who suffer.
In his speech, Pope Francis said the day is also an occasion for those who generously assist the sick, beginning with family members, health workers and volunteers, to give thanks for their God-given vocation of accompanying our infirm brothers and sisters.
Several groups support the hospital and billions of francs were given over the years. The four groups of Association des Eglise Pentecotistes au Rwanda have donated over Rwf138 million so far.