Mutumba health centre in difficulties, children lose quality health care

The health centre, traditionally renowned for quality service, suffers from financial and formal competence constraints. Patients, especially children, are the losers. The managing body determined to preserve the hallmark of the centre.

Mutumba health centre in difficulties, children lose quality health care

Mutumba health centre in difficulties, children lose quality health care

The number of patients transferred to Kabezi hospital from Mutumba health centre has increased in the last two months. This has resulted in the loss by patients of the quality health care they used to get at that centre, a feature the medical centre is traditionally known for.

The centre management is insistent on continuing to help patients despite obstacles. Sister Philotée Nduwamungu, 47, vice-president of Mutumba health centre, says they are experiencing a two-fold challenge: financial deficit and the lack of formal competence to deal with certain clinical cases.

Mutumba health centre is in the health district of Kabezi around 20 Km south of Bujumbura, the capital. Run by nuns, Mutumba is a certified health centre. Patients come from different provinces like Bururi, Bujumbura and Rumonge.

In addition to its medical care, the centre offers support to destitute patients and children in difficulties. Milk is offered weekly to children from the neighbouring areas and other provinces. Mutumba has the reputation of treating children especially those with skin diseases. The treatment is not, however, exclusive to young children. Paisible N., aged 19, and

Péline Ntiringaniza, 21, are two sisters from Gitega Province currently being treated for eczema at Mutumba Centre. They said they were led by a former patient. “We were guided by a person after three hospitals. And here we are recovering!”
Children are the priority. “There are expensive medicines for children we offer that cannot be found even at many public hospitals and medical centres. I would rather lack medicine for an adult than for a child” reveals Sister Philotée.

Currently, financial and legal conditions along with the lack of some medicines on the market force the health centre to transfer patients. The excessive care and help the centre offered from January to April together with the decrease in financial support from sponsors caused financial hardship. Even the support of milk from Switzerland will soon stop. In addition, “even when we have money, we do not find some medicines on the market. Furthermore, we sometimes have to transfer patients because norms do not allow us to deal with their cases: we have no doctor. The staff is composed of nurses”, says Sister Philotée.

However, the administration of the center will not let those conditions hamper their mission to care for patients. They are insistent on overcoming any obstacles they face. They are looking for support to continue operating normally. And when they can afford it, they will hire a medical doctor. “It saddens me for days when we have to transfer a patient we would normally treat if we had money or a doctor. Maybe, they will not be well-cared for elsewhere”, states Sister Philotée.

A source from the health centre reveals that consequences of those transfers are worsened by the fact that some patients will not accept to be sent elsewhere. Occasionally, some will not come to the health centre for fear of being transferred and prefer to go to traditional doctors or faith-healers. One of the reasons why they don’t accept to be transferred is that Kabezi hospital is too far from their homes.

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