KARONGI- Preparations are underway to institute a referral hospital in each of the four provinces in the country.
In the Western Province, the hospital will be built in Rusizi District, Musanze in the North while Rwamagana and Muhanga will host those in the Eastern and Southern Provinces respectively.
The Minister of Health, Dr Agnes Binagwaho, disclosed the plans during a three-day tour in Karongi District where she visited a number of medical facilities in the area.
Binagwaho further disclosed that the ministry intends to equip each district with at least five ambulances by the end of next year.
She admitted that rural hospitals and health centres often face shortage in human resources but pledged to resolve the problem.
“We plan to establish five nursing schools and a medical university which will address the human resource problem,” Binagwaho said.
She insisted that all these developments would go a long way in improving the country’s healthcare system.
Binagwaho challenged Karongi residents to work hard in developing other health indicators to a reasonable level.
Despite the excellent performance in the local health insurance policy (Mutuelle de Sante) countrywide, Karongi still lags behind in other sectors.
The district has a rating of 27 percent in family planning compared to the national average of 45 percent while pregnant mothers who attend medical checkups before giving birth account for only 9 percent compared to the national average of 35 percent.
Meanwhile, the construction of a modern hospital worth Rwf 1.6 billion, will kick off in Kibuye town in less than a month.
The hospital’s director, Frida Bazirisa, observed that the new hospital would significantly solve many health related issues.
She, however, noted some medical practitioners are hesitant to work in rural areas, attributing this to poor salaries, inadequate financial facilitation and transport means.
Immaculate Mukandakebuka, a community health worker in Karongi District, said that initiatives to strengthen the country’s health system is a welcome move.
“Aiming at the best in health practices helps the population to lead better lives,” she noted.
Presently, there are five referral hospitals, 42 district hospitals and over 550 health centres countrywide.