CEMABU denounces refusal of health care to medical assistance card holders

On the occasion of the celebration of the World Day of the Sick this Tuesday 11 February, the Burundian association fighting for patients’ rights (CEMABU) has said it deplores the behavior of some public hospital officials who refuse to provide health care to holders of Medical Assistance Card (CAM).

Malaria patients admitted to the hospital

“We welcome the government’s efforts to facilitate access to health care for sick people,” says Sylvain Habanabakize, CEMEBU spokesman.

He, however, denounces the behavior of some public health structures which undermine the government’s efforts. He points an accusing finger at the Kamenge University Hospital Center (Roi Khaled) and the Kamenge Military Hospital.

Mr Habanabakize says patients who seek treatment in those two hospitals under the recommendation of local health facilities are not welcomed and treated. “Their medical assistance cards or certificates given to indigent people are not accepted,” he says.

The spokesman for CEMEBU also says patients having CAM, which is delivered to ordinary citizens or certificate for indigent people don’t receive medication in the pharmacies of the above hospitals. “They are often forced to go and buy them in other drugstores.”

The spokesman for CEMABU calls on the President of the Republic and the Ministry of Public Health to tackle that problem in order to promote patients’ rights.
He urges the heads of both health structures to change their behavior saying that “these patients have the right to enjoy health care as the government pays 80% of medical fees for them.”

Mr Habanabakize also asks the board of the Civil Service Mutual Benefit organization to take action against pharmacies that do not serve drugs to its subscribers. “I don’t understand why they refuse to give medicines to subscribers of that state-owned health insurance service while they give them to those who pay the full cost.”

Contacted, Léonard Bivahagumye, the Director in charge of health care at Roi Khaled Hospital in Kamenge, refutes CEMEBU’s accusations.

“For patient holding a medical assistance card or a certificate given to indigent people to receive medical care, they must follow organization chart set by the Ministry of Public Health,” he explains.

We do not receive a patient who does not respect the stages of this organization chart,” he concludes.