Public health centres tipped on self-reliance

In order to reduce dependence on government and foreign donors, managers of public health facilities in the country should craft ways of generating income for the institutions they head.

The call was made yesterday during the launch of the Rwanda Health Systems Strengthening Activity (RHSSA), a five-year project (2014-2019) run by the Ministry of Health in partnership with Usaid.
“Public hospitals like Kiziguro, in Gatsibo District, rely less on government and development partners because they started their own income-generating activities, like establishment of private wards,” said Dr Apolline Uwayitu, the RHSSA country director.

She said the project will not only train public health facility administrators in finding funding alternatives but will also stimulate fully blown private investment into the sector which will help increase accessibility to healthcare by all Rwandans.
Dr Agnes Binagwaho, the Minister for Health, said part of the agenda is to encourage public-private partnerships in health care provision.

“The aim here is to ensure that every cell without a public health post should at least have a private one to bridge the gap,” she said.
Binagwaho said the programme would help ensure provision of quality healthcare in the long run, as outlined in development programmes like Vision 2020.
“The challenge we have is to offer quality healthcare, with little funding available,” she added.
About 25 per cent of the population has its health insurance fees footed by government, and the purpose is to reduce over-dependence through building of alternative funding mechanisms.
Peter Malnak, the Usaid mission director, said the $24.9 million project will not only tackle areas like health care decentralization, but also human resources development and ensuring accountability in the health sector.
“We shall also train medical personnel in using available data to make decisions,” he said.
Community health insurance subscription stood at 73 per cent for the 2013/2014 fiscal year.
With this project focusing on strengthening the programme, subscription is expected to improve.

The NewTimes