Rwanda’s health sector has been allocated more than Rwf 278.1 billion for the financial year 2022-2023 under the draft national budget currently before parliament. The funds will be used to fund projects aimed at improving health care, officials said.
The disclosure was made on Tuesday, May 31, during the budget hearing where the Department of Health and six affiliated agencies were defending their budget priorities for the next fiscal year before the House of Commons National Budget and Heritage Committee.
Compared to more than Rwf 371.8 billion for the current financial year, which will end on June 30, the health sector budget for next year has been reduced by 25% or more than Rwf 93 billion. .
According to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, the decline in sector allocation is partly due to the fact that the severity of the Covid-19 pandemic has diminished, which means that fewer resources will be deployed to combat the pandemic than last year.
Here are some of the activities and projects planned in the 2022/2023 budget in the health sector.
Subsidize the Health Mutual
The government will spend more than 5.5 billion Rwandan francs for the transfer of annual Community Based Health Insurance (CBHI) premiums to the Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB) for vulnerable people (men and women).
This action aims to subsidize the health care of the poorest citizens, who subscribe to the AMC commonly called Mutuelles de Santé.
Zachee Iyakaremye, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, said that the government pays a contribution to mutual health insurance for the most needy people in the first category of Ubudehe because they cannot afford it.
“Government will continue to support this action by donating Rwf2,000 for each eligible vulnerable person,” he said.
Funding IRCAD Rwandan project
The project to build a Digestive Cancer Research and Training Institute (IRCAD) in Rwanda has been endowed with more than 4.1 billion over the next financial year.
Its construction started on September 17, 2019 and the deadline was July 3, 2022, at a cost of more than Rwf 21 billion.
To date, Rwf 16.9 billion has been spent on the project.
Meanwhile, the completion and operationalization of IRCAD required Rwf 7 billion, but received Rwf 4.1 billion for the following year, implying a gap of Rwf 2.8 billion.
“If this gap is filled, it can help our country position itself well in terms of much-needed health care,” said MP Odette Uwamariya.
Outpatient Department at King Faisal Hospital
The construction works of a new outpatient department building and other renovation works for King Faisal Hospital received an allocation of 2.7 billion Rwandan francs.
This activity started on January 3, 2020 and is expected to be completed on June 3, 2026 at a cost of RWF 13.5 billion. So far, Rwf 4.7 billion has been used to fund it.
Maternity and neonatology equipment
Iyakaremye said that the purchase of equipment for maternity and neonatal units in health facilities and ultrasound scanners have been allocated more than Rwf 2.1 billion.
“You realize that in various health facilities, when mothers give birth to premature babies, but neonatology is not working well, it contributes to infant deaths,” Iyakaremye said.
“That’s why we have planned the purchase of maternity equipment, including the ultrasound machine used to monitor the growth of the fetus and identify any problems they may have so that they can be treated earlier”, a- he declared.
Interior residual spray
Indoor Residue Spraying (IRS), an activity to fight Malaria, needed Rwf 4.7 billion for next year but received Rwf 2.9 billion. Consequently, it suffers from a funding gap of more than Rwf 1.8 billion.
MP Odette Uwamariya said that indoor residual spraying is important for the fight against malaria, indicating that the budget gap identified for this initiative should be filled.
MRI machine at the CHUB
As part of the financial plan, a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine will be purchased for the CHUB. It is medical equipment with technology that produces detailed images of the organs and tissues of the body, to aid in the diagnosis of diseases. It is expected to cost around Frw 1.4 billion.
CHUB Director General Sabin Nsanzimana said MRI is important for this health facility located in Huye District of Southern Province, and even serves people from Western Province.
“We are grateful that MRI, a major piece of equipment that was missing, was included in the plan,” he said, indicating that CHUB is the largest hospital serving more people outside Kigali – about four millions.
Major issues requiring urgent attention
CHUB Director General Sabin Nsanzimana said the hospital has a wage gap of around Frw 492 million. [as the funding for its staff pay got over Rwf6.9 billion against the required over Rwf7.4 billion for the next year.]
“If we don’t get the necessary money, we won’t be able to provide medical services adequately, and there are medical workers that we won’t be able to employ, but those services that they would provide won’t can’t be stopped,” he said.
Rwanda FDA Chief Financial Officer George Ntaganda said the authority, as a relatively new entity that has recruited more workers to carry out its responsibilities, has a salary budget gap rising to Frw 335 million.
“We want you to advocate for us on this issue,” he told MPs.