Exquisite service delivery is like nectar to bees; it just attracts more and more clients, as each gives attractive reviews of a facility to prospective clients.
But the reverse is also damningly true, as Agnes Nyiramana found out. The resident of Muhima Sector in Kigali city’s Nyarugenge District used to seek health services at Muhima Hospital.
But she later stopped going to the hospital after experiencing poor service delivery on several occasions.
“Two months ago, I brought my daughter who was pregnant to the hospital and even though she was in serious condition, they denied her services saying she had not undergone antenatal services at the same hospital. As a matter of fact, she had undertaken antenatal services at Nyiranuma Health Centre (in Biryogo area) where our abode was before we relocated to Muhima,” Nyiramana told The New Times.
“And, even though the tests had been carried out elsewhere, we had taken Mutuelle de Santé (health insurance card) to Muhima Hospital and we knew that a pregnant woman who is due can go to the nearest hospital even though they may have gone somewhere else for prenatal care,” she added.
But, on arrival at Muhima Hospital, the nurses there, after learning that the expectant mother had received antenatal care elsewhere and not from the same hospital, showed a reluctance to attend to her and instead asked her to wait as they deliberated on her case, despite her being in critical condition, Nyiramana said.
“I immediately took my daughter to Kacyiru Hospital and the nurses there promptly delivered the baby. So I wondered why Muhima Hospital had refused yet Kacyiru Hospital accepted to deliver the baby. My daughter nearly died due to poor service at Muhima,” she recounted.
Nyiramana told The New Times that before taking her daughter to Muhima, she had previously been hospitalised at the same hospital but after failing to immediately come up with Rwf11,000 owed to the hospital, she was confined in a room for almost a week.
Minister taken aback
Now, recently, the Minister for Health, Dr Diane Gashumba, was herself a victim of poor service delivery at Muhima Hospital, it emerged.
During a random visit, she was shocked at the level of poor services from particularly nurses at the facility.
The minister subsequently ordered suspension of two nurses who she said had no passion for their job.
A statement that was later released by the Health ministry explained that the two nurses were “caught red-handed delivering poor services.”
The minister was among those at the receiving end of poor service at the hospital on that day, the statement said.
When the minister arrived at the facility unannounced, the statement went on, she greeted the first nurse, only for the latter to ignore her, without even bothering to look at the person who was greeting her.
Instead, in an unfriendly tone, the nurse said she was too busy to even respond to greetings.
And when the minister sought to know from her whether that’s the kind of treatment they always subject patients to, the nurse, again without bothering to look at her, rudely responded: “Writing and speaking do not go hand-in-hand, wait.”
The minister then proceeded to the maternity ward where she found two mothers who had just delivered sharing a bed yet there were still unoccupied beds.
On inquiring what the issue was, it emerged that the nurse that was in charge of the room had been adamant even as the husband of one of the nursing mothers who were sharing a bed had offered to pay for a ‘private bed’.
The minister ordered the suspension of this particular nurse too.
Speaking to The New Times, last week Minister Gashumba said poor service delivery and neglect in hospitals could cause many deaths.
She said similar surprise inspections will continue in other health facilities.
“Patients should help us reverse the trend by reporting nurses who offer poor services,” she said.
The public should give us feedback on the service they receive in different hospitals, Gashumba added. “Where there is good service delivery, we see results.”
In conjunction with the Local Government ministry, she said, they will continue to conduct inspections and beef up supervision and continuous sensitisation to ensure that nurses do their job as expected. “I will not relent on cracking down on all those that break their own oath,” she said.
“We have a toll-free number (114) that anyone, including patients, can call and lodge a complaint,” she said.