The Ministry of Health has said different hospitals are chocking on debts, which it says partly explains the reason why some public hospitals continue to struggle in terms of service delivery.
Dr Diane Gashumba, the Minister of Health, remarked on Monday while addressing members of the parliamentary committee on budget and national patrimony as they discussed the budget appropriated to the health sector for the fiscal year 2019/20.
The minister said for instance, the Kigali Central University Teaching Hospital (CHUK) and that of Butare (CHUB), which together accumulate a debt of about Rwf90 million every year.
The other example given is Ndera Neuropsychiatric Hospital, the only public facility offering mental health services in the country, which she said has accumulated up to Rwf165m in debts owed by districts alone.
Brother Charles Nkubili, the Director General of Ndera Neuropsychiatric Hospital, said these debts are accrued from patients with mental health challenges, who are brought in by districts after they are picked from streets.
Many of them, according to Nkubili, are brought by the police and other security personnel and the bill is for the districts from where they were picked.
“Huye District owes the most with over Rwf26m, followed by Kicukiro with over Rwf17 million, then Gasabo with Rwf18 million, Kayonza 17 million, Musanze Rwf15 million and the remaining districts collectively owe us Rwf23 million,” he said.
Nkubili said that these debts, besides affecting the functioning of the hospital, it has also led them into bad books with the Auditor General.
“We have discussed this issue with the Ministry of Local Government and we thank them for making the necessary mobilisation but we also ask for your support as legislators, especially in terms of advocacy to ensure this problem is solved,” he said.
According to Gashumba, it’s not just districts that owe public hospitals money, but also individuals, some of whom, she said, still believe that treatment is free of charge.
“Even those who has Mutuelle de Santé, some don’t pay the 10 per cent, they should pay but the biggest problem is those who do not have insurance,” she said.
Gashumba also explained that, among the effects include absence of drugs, poor hygiene, and medics getting their salaries late which may in turn affect their attitude towards work, hence poor service.