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Long waiting queue still a challenge in Rwanda’s health system despite interventions by RHSS project

Author Jerome MUNYENTWALI Views

On 14th May 2019, the Rwanda health system strengthening RHSS project has come to an end, before financially supporting Rwanda’s Ministry of Health, leaving some obstacles like patients waiting queue at health centers unsolved.

Patients’ waiting time is one of the major problems to handle in Rwanda’s health service centers, which currently disturbs residents, yet the Project closes before reaching the target. However, the ministry vowed to strongly focus on this issue.

This delay has made patients to fear services from public health centers and hospitals and always complain for change, which is not possible at the moment.
Between the dates of 14th to 16th November 2018 The spent days in Kigali University teaching Hospital CHUK, investigating the same issue.

During the process, we talked to a mass of patients, their relative-care takers in the hospital, they highly raised the issue as the disturbing one.

Theogene Hakizimana is the one of interviewees, he said “At least today they have improved service delivery, in the last week you could even spend 2- 3 hours waiting for being handled, and in the time your patient is suffering because they cannot attend to her/him before you pay.”

Théogene HAKIZIMANA in the interview with The while leaving a stressing queue on 15th November 2018 in CHUK.

Immaculee Mukakarangwa, a patient at the same hospital said “It is my first time to come here for healthcare services, I can see the long queue of patients and cashiers are few to serve us. There is a need to hire more staff to handle the issue,”

CHUK is a case study where poor healthcare service delivery is easily found. In the closing of Rwanda Health System Strengthening (RHSS) project, officials said the issue stays for longer in all hospitals countrywide.

Speaking at the event, Allain Joyal, the country representative for management sciences for health, MSH and RHSS Project coordinator reiterated that the problem is still observed.

“Waiting time in the hospital is a problem, we know, it is many hours, we measured and we have proposed a number of facilities and we have seen some improvements but still people wait between 2 and 3 hours, that is still a lot, and the ministry needs to know that. This is a problem to step up over. We need different system again, different approaches, and very judicious to reduce that further. A lot has been done and the leadership’s vision is strong.” Joyal said.

Allain Joyal (Left), the country representative for management sciences for health during the RHSS Project closing ceremony .

“The commitment is strong and we will be able to have synergy with that, but there is much to do. To bring the waiting time for example down to half an hour or forty five minutes. That will require high magnitude of order and system changes, practice changes and also some habits changes,” he added.

The Minister of Health of Rwanda Dr. Diane Gashumba said that they are trying to increase the number of workers in health centers to improve services despite persisting challenges.

“This is our duty as the Ministry of Health to deal with this problem. The duty of Rwanda Health System Strengthening project is to financially empower us. Meanwhile, there are some good steps ahead, some hospitals showed that they decreased a number of deaths but the journey is still long and costing,” Dr. Gashumba said.

Dr. Gashumba said that the ministry of health in partnership with the ministry of education with the University of Rwanda are doing the best to increase the number of students enrolled in health schools.

Dr. Gashumba Diane, The Minister of Health in Rwanda, speaking in the ceremony

This year, health students have been accredited 3 times comparing to the last years, and the Ministry is making sure that they are acquiring the needed sophisticated health skills.

Rwanda Health System Strengthening project is a five-year USAID funded project with $24,892,688 implemented by MSH. It was launched in November 2014 with the objective of achieving strengthened and expanded performance of the Rwandan Health System and national decentralized and community levels.

Patients and some of heir care takers queuing in CHUK for health service

Memory Photo during the RHSS Project closure before handling a long waiting queue in Hospitals in Rwanda

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