In Burundi, getting medical assistance may become a service of the well to do citizens unless there is a complete overhaul.
On May 14, the Burundi National Assembly lower chamber analyzed and adopted the new bill fixing the general state budget for 2021-2022.
Details in this new bill indicate that it is planned to increase the price of the medical assistance card (CAM).
“The price is now set as follows: BIF 0 for the vulnerable, BIF25,000 for middle-income people and BIF 100,000 for high-income people,” reads a tweet from the Burundi National Assembly on the 14th. May 2021.
In reaction to this bill, the Burundian association fighting for patients’ rights (CEMABU) said they were saddened by this news.
“Even the 3,000 Burundian francs that CAM cost were difficult to access by some patients, where are these people going to find the 25,000 Burundian francs?” Sylvain Habanabakize, spokesperson for Cemabu, asked.
Habanabakize insisted that there are other expenses that the applicant for the card will need including passport photos, he regrets that the elected representatives have adopted such a law instead of pleading for the sick.
“The government should ensure that CAM is given free,” he said. And to wonder: “How will the government be able to distinguish those who are able to buy the card at 25 thousand and others who will buy it at BIF 100,000? “
As a reminder, when the Court of Auditors presented comments on the project on Tuesday, May 11, it recommended that the Ministry in charge of Finance enlighten Parliament on the impact of the review on the rise in the price of medical assistance card.
According to the UN, Burundi’s healthcare system is one of the worst in the East African Community bloc. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says Burundi healthcare system has a worrying lack of resources.
OCHA data shows that in Burundi, Malaria kills in thousands annually. OCHA says 5.7 million cases of malaria were recorded in Burundi during 2019 alone – close to half of the country’s entire population.
“The national malaria outbreak response plan, which is currently being validated, has highlighted a lack of human, logistical and financial resources for effective response,” OCHA says.