As residents explained, the idle facility provides loopholes for prolonged hardships as patients can spend up to Rwf5000 on maritime transport to access health services.
The concept of building health posts was introduced by the Government of Rwanda to make access to health services easier.
Gihaya Health Post was completed in 2019 but no nurse was assigned up to date.
Costasie Uzamushaka residing in Budorozi Village said that some women deliver babies before reaching health facilities because they have to travel long distances.
“We experience hurdles while taking a pregnant mother to health facilities. We are sometimes slapped Rwf5000 fine when she delivers along the way. Leaders are aware of it and promised to send nurses but it’s been long without solving the issue,” she said.
Francine Nyirahabufite said that each individual is normally charged Rwf300 for transportation in daylight but the price increases to Rwf5000 to carry a patient.
“Sometimes, patients refuse to board boats over strong wind and wait until the lake is calm. In case she gives birth before reaching a health facility, the fine applies. Our wish is to have a nurse assigned to Gihaya Health Post,” she noted.
A community health worker at the island has also told IGIHE that she recently accompanied a mother who gave birth before reaching the health center because there was no boat to carry them.
“She delivered along the way and was later fined as she went to get her baby inoculated. During a recent meeting, leaders promised to assign a nurse and supply the health post with electricity. We want the promise fulfilled,” she said.
Rusizi District vice mayor in charge of finance and economic development, Louis Munyemanzi said that they wanted to solve the issue of electricity before assigning a nurse.
“We can follow up to establish why there is no nurse assigned to the health post because we had fixed many things when we went there last time. The project might have stalled due to lacking proper follow up to check the progress,” he noted.
Gihaya Island is home to over 1300 residents while Rusizi District has 55 health posts of which only 18 operate properly.