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Burundi Ministers Propose Hospital For Only Important Persons



Anger is brewing among Burundi’s poor people who disagree with government’s plan to build a hospital that will care for what it describes as great personalities.

According to details, Taarifa has learned, on August 30 a council of ministers convened during which Dr Sylvie Nzeyimana the Minister of Public Health presented a draft decree establishing the Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct for health service providers.

Among the recommendations, one point was surprising; the idea of building a hospital for great personalities was put forward.

This idea has triggered anger and indignation of the population who wonder between themselves and these great personalities, who needs it the most.

Apparently, during the said Council of Ministers, the Minister of Public Health remembered the words of this illustrious French philosopher… “Well-ordered charity begins with oneself,” said François Barthélemy Arlès-Dufour.

It should be remembered that Burundi’s healthcare system is limping especially with the lack of doctors in hospitals, following a lack of laboratories to carry out in-depth clinical examinations.

On the morning of August 30, Sylvie Nzeyimana dampened the hopes of all those who hoped for an answer to the problems haunting the Burundian health system. The minister only fronted the idea of a hospital that will cater for a large family of privileged people of which she is a part.

In her presentation, neither the question of the causes of the mass exodus of doctors and other health professionals, nor that relating to the absence of suitable infrastructure or the difficult accessibility of the population to health care due to its weak power purchase, were not mentioned.

“In any case, you don’t need to be a health provider to understand the harsh daily reality of deep Burundi. These Health Centers (CDS) which have no electricity, doctors helpless in the face of a simple cesarean section, lack of operating theaters,” explains a municipal doctor.

Dr Sylvie Nzeyimana the Minister of Public Health

According to him, unless she did it knowingly, because until now, she has not yet developed a strategic plan, this Council of Ministers would have been a good opportunity to propose a strategy as provide real answers to this sector in distress.

“Are these elites supposed to enjoy all the privileges because we trusted them? ” the angry doctor wondered.

“The supervisory ministry doesn’t care about renovating or equipping public hospitals in any way. From now on, there are those who will die in poorly equipped health structures while others will sleep in fully equipped wards cared for by the best specialists in the country. All this thanks to the taxpayer’s taxes? “, asks Jean, a nurse at Prince Regent Hospital.

Beyond the social inequalities that such a hospital structure risks generating, this nurse fears the exacerbation of political divisions. “Already, everywhere in all state services, favoritism and clientelism have become the rule. With this hospital, will “other major personalities” who are not from the ruling party not have the right to be treated there?  According to her, there is no doubt, it is a barely hidden apartheid that will be established.

Sylvain Habonakiza, spokesperson for the Cadre d’Expression pour les Malades au Burundi (Cemabu) said, “If, from now on, to be cared for, you have to be a great personality. What will become of farmers in the countryside who barely have basic health care because their municipal hospital does not have enough doctors or products to carry out a trivial laboratory test?

“If this is so, won’t tomorrow there be certain pharmacies reserved for these great personalities, refusing to sell medicines to anyone who wants to buy them? The minister, more than anyone, knows that these personalities do not need a hospital reserved for them.”

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