Patients are dissatisfied with the services at Roi Khaled Hospital

The sick complain that they are offered poor service at Roi Khaled hospital. The paying process and tests making are the slowest activities. The hospital’s administration is aware of the situation. However the remedy is far from being reached.-By J.Berchmans Siboniyo

Patients waiting for paying at Roi Khaled hospital counters ©Iwacu

Patients waiting for paying at Roi Khaled hospital counters ©Iwacu

“The process at the hospital is unbearable. Look! It is now 11 a.m whereas I have been here since 9 a.m.”, says Jean Paul, in the queue at the laboratory counter waiting to pay for a test. Cynthia Kaneza, a mother of a two-year old, outside of the same laboratory at 11h08 says that she has been at the hospital since 7h30. She says that a pediatrician has given her an appointment to come back the following day.
“I am from Giteranyi Commune, Muyinga province. I have arrived here at 6 a.m. the queue is long and I am even getting sicker and sicker”, says Joséphine Nzohabonimana, an elderly woman found on the laboratory bench waiting for her turn.
Another group of patients at the same place blame the staff of injustice. “You can wait hours and hours. But other people, who know the staff, are helped before you. We patients can get sicker just because of what we see at the hospital”.

The patients deplore the sluggishness of the workers at the counters. “The staff is too slow and old. This job should be done by young and active people. There are only three people to receive such a big number of patients. They can’t cope with the new technology system they are now using”, notices a group of patients on the queue. All the ailing complain about the poor service especially the way they are received at the counters when they want to pay money. When Iwacu visited the hospital, only one employee was staffing the outpatient clinics’ counters. At the laboratory counters, where one pays for tests, three persons were receiving patients. The queue was very long and patients were looking desperate.

A reduced number of staff

Moses Ntiburuburyo, the Chairman of the Association Burundaise pour la Defense des Droits des Malades (the association to defend the rights of sick people) indicates that he is aware of the problem. He explains many causes of the problem.
“Our country has so few physicians that all the patients cannot be treated well. According to PNS (Programme National de la Santé), one physician would receive 10,000 patients per year. But in reality, a physician in Burundi receives 19,000 patients. It is terrible. Even among the few physicians we have some are in the administrative layer. They don’t have time to receive patients”, he says. He goes on explaining that many physicians have their own health centers. Others go to work in private hospitals, because it pays better. They spend more time in private health centers and the patients at Roi Khaled are forced to wait.”
Moses also reveals some materials are not used because of the lack of qualified staff. He also points out that some physicians refuse to give appointments in the public hospitals, instead giving them in their health centers because then they can increase the price.

The administrative cause

“The other cause of the slow services is that Roi Khaled is a teaching hospital from the University of Burundi. It is under control of both the Ministry of Health and of Higher Education. The Director has limited power to take decisions under the two ministries.The physicians combine both healing and teaching”, Ntiburuburyo says.
However, Moses acknowledges that the patients share part of the blame. He says they should only go to the hospital when they realize that they are not healed at the health centers. “The more they go to the hospital for simple diseases, the longer the queue becomes and the more patients delay at hospital”, he states. The chief assistant of the financial service assumes responsibility for the slowness of the payment process. He tries to explain that sometimes the employees at the outpatient clinics go to help at the laboratory counters. “Simply said, we don’t have enough staff”, he adds.
When asked what is going to be done to improve the service quality, Pontien Ndabashinze, the Director of the hospital said he had no time to give any comment.
Roi Khaled is a public university hospital that receives a big number of patients from every corner of the country. According to physicians, a kind reception towards patients contributes to their health evolution. The government and the administration of the hospitals should follow up the staff and monitor all the services to better the welfare of the sick.