This is a distressing reality to confront, given that adequate housing is considered a fundamental human necessity, alongside food, clothing, and education. Nevertheless, a significant portion of healthcare workers in Rwanda cannot afford this essential luxury due to the soaring costs associated with construction.
In October 2023, the Ministry of Infrastructure disclosed that a substantial 50.8% of Rwandans earning less than Rwf200,000 per month can only manage to acquire a residence valued at less than Rwf40 million.
During a talk show aired on Radio Rwanda, Dr. Corneille Ntihabose, the Head of Clinical and Public Health Services at the Ministry of Health, made a striking revelation.
He stated that among healthcare professionals, more than 80% do not have homeownership. "Out of the 3,000 healthcare workers we surveyed," he explained, "82% admitted to renting their residences." Surprisingly, 33% of them possess a plot of land but lack the financial means to construct a house.
This predicament is further compounded by their hesitance to take out bank loans due to the perceived exorbitant interest rates, which far exceed their modest salaries.
The healthcare workforce is distributed across the country, with 28% based in Kigali, 17% in the Northern Province, 18% in the Eastern Province, 16% in the Southern Province, and 21% in the Western Province.
To address this pressing issue, the "Muganga SACCO" cooperative was established in 2020. This cooperative now offers low-interest loans to enable healthcare professionals to build their own homes. Claudine Uwambayingabire, the Director General of the cooperative, highlights their unwavering commitment to alleviating the economic challenges faced by healthcare workers.
According to research conducted by the Ministry of Health, 38% of healthcare workers aspire to own homes valued between Rwf15 and 30 million, while 30% desire homes that do not exceed Rwf45 million.