A Senate report on the status of Social Justice launched yesterday, indicates that about 93percent of the Rwandan population use health facilities for treatment.
The study was conducted in reference to Article 9 of the Constitution, which partly states “…building a State committed to promoting Social welfare and establishing appropriate mechanisms for ensuring social justice.”
According to researchers who compiled the report, social justice entails equal treatment for all citizens under all circumstances of life without any discrimination, whatsoever based on social status, gender, race, ethnicity, citizenship, age, religious affiliation and physical conditions.
Presenting the findings to the Senate, Prof. Francois Masabo who led the team of experts that compiled the report said that the nation’s health status is impressive although some citizens still seek treatment from traditional healers.
“Our findings indicate that about 93percent of Rwanda use hospital and health centres for treatment. This high percentage is attributed to several favourable health insurance schemes,” Masabo said.
According to Masabo, two percent of the population seek treatment from traditional healers, another two percent use both modern treatment and traditional healers while three percent of the population have no access to any form of treatment.
“People who combine both practices advance several reasons including lack of financial means, the modest fees required by traditional healers and the mindset that the latter possess some required skills to treat certain diseases,” Masabo said.
He added that other respondents say that health centres in some areas are located far away.
He, however, stressed that the government needs to increase the rollout of health centres saying that in the districts of, Bugesera, Musanze, Burera, Karongi and Rutsiro, patients have to make a distance of five to six hours to the nearest health facility.
Food security is considered an element of Social Justice and according to Masabo’s finding, 66 percent of the respondents eat two meals per day.
“This state of affairs is corroborated by a WFP and NISR study in 2009 that found 78 percent of the Rwandan population to be well fed. It is all due to the government’s policies like crop intensification and land consolidation among others,” said Masabo.
He, however, noted that by the time the study was conducted, 26 percent had one meal a day at best.
The Senate commissioned the study on social justice in 2009 and since then, the findings had never been published.
Following Masabo’s presentation, some officials claimed that the delay to publish should be put into consideration since many policies have been initiated and called on the Senate to commission another study that would provide updated figures.
“This study is impressive but it took more time than expected, to publish the findings. Since 2009, we have implemented a lot of initiatives that have directly impacted on people’s lives,” the Minister of Internal Security, Musa Fazil Harerimana said.
In response, the president of the Senate Dr. Vincent Biruta said that the delay is attributed to the death of Dr. Tharcisse Nsabimana, who headed the research team.
“After the death of Dr. Nsabimana, the team had to re-group and start over again, this is why the publication delayed,” Biruta said.
The level of social justice turned out to be low in the Southern and Western provinces and according to the outgoing deputy Speaker of Parliament, Jean Damascene Ntawukuriryayo, a separate study needs to be carried out immediately to assess the cause of low figures in the two provinces.
The Minister in Charge of Cabinet Affairs, Protais Musoni, said that it should be noted that the findings are based on people’s perceptions.