When will service providers know that our lives and rights matter?

Published on 14th December 2016

Many people have bemoaned the shoddiness of the service delivery in this land and none can tell the reason for it. Is it incompetence, laziness, carelessness, arrogance or a combination of these and more?

Personally, I am simply baffled by how this shoddiness manifests itself in some professionals.

Take the Health Sector. A month ago when a brother who was feeling feverish went to a doctor at a hospital of high standing here in Kigali, the doctor glanced at him and dismissed his affliction as “stress” and prescribed some tablets.

The brother, seeing as the doctor had not checked anything, thought to seek another opinion. Because after all, when you go to a doctor, don’t you expect him to check your temperature, blood pressure, heart rate – the routine – as the first thing?
Even a witchdoctor asks some preliminary questions before making a ‘diagnosis’, surely!

So, the brother went to this simple clinic on KG 169 Street. When the doctor looked at him, he exclaimed: “Don’t say you came on your own!” And immediately put him on the examination table. After elaborate tests he found the brother had a deadly malarial infection in his blood that’d probably have cost him his life!

Considering that the doctor singlehandedly oversees this clinic that can cater for as many as twenty inpatients at a time, can you imagine the difference a little effort can make?

That “little effort”, however, seems to be an insurmountable task to some officials. There is this big referral hospital that the government, on its overstretched budgets, has over time turned around. From an asbestos-roofing death-trap in 1994, the hospital has become a well-equipped, simple but clean establishment – apparently.

“Apparently” because even I, fit as I was (save me derisive chuckles!), was scared to near-death when I saw its Intensive Care Unit (ICU). I was petrified by the threat of getting some infection from the uncontrolled crowd around the patients, during visiting hours. A desolate, half-empty bottle of hand-washing disinfectant is the only deterrent to passing our own diseases to the prostrate patients. No headdress, no nose-mouth-covering mask, no removing shoes, no nothing.

Well, that was not necessarily the reason a nephew didn’t see the light of next day but some measure of hygiene can go a long way in mollifying bereaved souls.

All the aforementioned, however, pale in comparison to the dangerous negligence of some health officials in our villages. And it suffices to recall the case of the woman who, after a caesarean section, was left with scissors and cotton buried in her. Pray, can you wrap your mind around the reason for such terrifying negligence?

Even in India they know that hospitals are hallowed places where hygiene is king and where only the best and most dedicated in the health profession dare to tread.

This, even when reaching that hospital means fighting your way through beggars tagging at you; men answering the call of nature all over; motorists-cyclists conspiring to burst your eardrums…… With all due respect to my Indian bosom buddies, one of whom,if it were not for him, I wouldn’t be walking upright today.

So, anyways, in this clean environment that’s Rwanda, what gives, with some service providers?

Luckily, these bad apples are only few, even if, unfortunately, they are spread across all sectors, not only in Health.

Maybe they should all be regularly inducted in our national Itorero Programme. A pep talk on the values of patriotism and ‘ubupfura’ (dedication to virtues), as practiced in our old tradition, may make them see the sense in “doing unto others as they would have them do unto them”.

But that assumes that the Intore (cadres in Itorero) in charge of these programmes are themselves ‘shyashya’ (any less blame-worthy). Going by the complaints about this year’s last Itorero, sometimes the conditions those programmes are conducted in are an insult to those very values.

Other complaints aside, in this land that’s on the world’s lips for its fastidiousness, where from does an organiser get a venue with bedbugs? And to think that the venue plays host to our sons and daughters during school time! Which, in the first place, should tell an Intore instructor a thing about where to begin with their inductions, if not with self!

All in all, these ‘bad apples’ in Health, Infrastructure, Education, Itorero and sundry other areas, do they pause to remember where we are coming from?

This country is where she is today because Rwandans came together to rescue her from being sunk into the abyss by deranged compatriots. The leadership and the populace, working in unison, marshalled their energies to pull her out of the barbarity of yesteryears, turn her around and place her on the path to civilization.

Now it’s even reported that these ‘don’t-cares’ and self-seekers are becoming so audacious as to swindle this no-nonsense-corruption-wise government out of millions of dollars?

No, the sanctity of a Rwandan’s life will never be violated in any way, ever again.

The sword of justice will come down mightily upon they who think otherwise.

And as the bearer of that sword hasn’t slept a wink since setting off to lead that rescue mission, so is he not about to, in these malfeasants’ life time.

Self-seekers and ‘gross-indifferent’, stand warned!

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