Rwanda: Agony of sharing hospital bed

Wednesday April 1 2020


Hospital beds are not enough in public hospitals. PHOTO | FILE 

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Lack of enough facilities in the country’s main hospitals has forced sick children to share beds as congestions threaten local hospitals. A spot check by Rwanda Today revealed that up to three sick children share beds in addition to their mothers who serve as care givers.

At University Teaching Hospital, three sick children were spotted in one bed with their mothers feeding them while sited at the edge of the same bed. This is the reality at the University Teaching Hospital of Kigali (CHUK), the largest Kigali Teaching referral hospital, Ruhengeri Referral Hospital and University Teaching Hospital of Butare (CHUB).

A two months’ survey conducted by Rwanda Today indicates that it is not only the above hospitals that are in a bad state, most of the five referral and 42 district hospitals have limited beds in the paediatric emergency and in the main wards.

Health sector gets an annual budget of Rwf230.8 billion from the government. Dr Lisine Tuyisenge, a paediatrician at the University Teaching Hospital of Kigali said the hospitals grapple with congestion not only in the paediatrics wards but even in other medical departments.

“We acknowledge that there are times when sick children share beds and at a times four on one bed but this problem has been exiting for many years without a solution,” said Dr. Tuyisenge. “We have been complaining for this issue for a decade now and the government promised to construct new facilities and move the hospital to Masaka but up to now we don’t know where they have reached with the construction,” she said.

Rwanda Today learnt that apart from King Faisal Hospital which has 29 beds that are never fully occupied in the paediatric ward, CHUK and CHUB have between 20 and 25 with other referrals having bellow 15 beds.


Jennet Kabate, a mother of James Ntwari, three year-old who was suffering from sore throat said she was disappointed when doctors told her to share the bed with other two sick children. “There was no other option but to agree and share the bed because even after looking around in the room I found that it wasn’t only us but almost all beds had two to three infants,” said Kabatesi.