King Faisal Hospital (KFH), the country's biggest referral hospital, is on to big things, trying to overhaul and expand its services with ambitions of conducting kidney and heart transplants by 2024.
The grand plan is to turn the referral into a well-facilitated hospital with enough qualified human resource able to perform complicated surgeries, such that it can be an alternative for people who increasingly opt for hospitals abroad.
Among the key areas of focus to the hospital is staffing, where it has already begun looking beyond the borders, with plans to hire at least 15 specialised surgeons this year.
The vision is excellent, but for it to be sufficiently achieved and sustained, a few things will need to be looked into.
The country has already made gains, having introduced the Community Based Health Insurance scheme (Mutuelle de santé), one of the most commendable government programmes in the past two decades.
KFH is an important player in the country's health ecosystem. Beyond the infrastructure upgrade, KFH will need to overhaul its patient management system. While all hospitals claim to be patient-centred, the reality is always different as most patients remain at the mercy of powerful doctors who mostly prefer to have the last word.
Sometimes when patients raise concerns, they risk being branded stubborn by doctors and blacklisted.
While patient queues are inevitable, there are several information technology-based solutions that the hospital could deploy to manage appointments and reduce waiting times at the hospital.
The hospital needs to revise its staff retention policy, to ensure that it continues to attract and retain the best medical professionals, in the facing of increasing competition from private care providers.
KFH has also been dragged to court several times for medical malpractices. Therefore, as KFH embarks on a physical upgrade, change should come from the inside with a specific focus on patient-centred care, treating people as equal partners and consistently monitoring the system to ensure that it meets needs their needs.
And this is not just about activities, it is as much about the way professionals and patients think about care and their relationships as the actual services become available.
Making sure that people are involved in and central to their care is now recognised as a key component of developing high quality healthcare.
The reality is that there is an increasing demand for health services while there are limited resources. As Rwanda continues to improve life expectancy, more of its citizens are living longer.
For our healthcare system to cope, it is important that referrals hospitals like KFH consistently invest in improving the quality of our healthcare.