Rusizi District is home to two hospitals including Gihundwe Hospital and Mibilizi. Over the past five years, Gihundwe Hospital has incurred an outstanding debt exceeding Rwf180 million, primarily due to patients who, regrettably, left without fulfilling their financial obligations after receiving medical care. In the same time frame, Mibilizi Hospital also struggled with a similar issue, accumulating unpaid bills totaling over Rwf90 million.
The head of this benevolent initiative, Reverend Pastor Jonas Uwimana, has told IGIHE that the fund has already collected an initial amount of Rwf300,000. Their overarching goal is to amass Rwf50 million to provide financial relief to individuals grappling with insurmountable medical expenses.
"This fund’s resources will be allocated to cover and settle the medical bills of patients who find themselves in dire financial circumstances," Rev. Uwimana.
This compassionate gesture encompasses a wide range of beneficiaries, including mentally ill individuals from unknown backgrounds, individuals rescued from the streets by anonymous doctors after sustaining injuries, and economically disadvantaged individuals who simply lack the means to cover their medical costs.
The contributions to this fund come from a diverse pool of benefactors, including compassionate individuals, dedicated hospital staff, and members of religious communities. It is worth noting that these contributions are separate from the existing debts owed by the hospitals. The primary objective is to curb the further accumulation of unpaid bills and provide much-needed financial respite to those in need.
Dr. Edith Mukayiranga, the Director General of Gihundwe Hospital, expressed deep concern regarding the escalating debt that has been growing year after year.
This persistent issue has hampered the hospital’s ability to enhance the quality of healthcare services provided.
"We receive an average of seven patients every week who are unable to afford their medical expenses. Once the fund is officially launched, it will help us prevent the accumulation of such debts, allowing us to focus on providing healthcare to all without financial barriers," Dr. Mukayiranga elaborated.
Anne-Marie Dukuzumuremyi, the Vice Mayor of Rusizi District in charge of social welfare, stressed that the establishment of this fund should not be misconstrued as a substitute for obtaining medical insurance. She emphasized the importance of individuals subscribing to medical insurance to safeguard their health.
To further bolster this philanthropic endeavor, Rusizi District has pledged its support by allocating Rwf75 million, with Rwf60 million earmarked for Gihundwe Hospital and an additional Rwf15 million designated for Mibilizi Hospital. These funds will directly reduce the outstanding medical bills, marking a significant step toward financial relief for both hospitals and patients alike.