The construction of a new health facility in Bugarura Island has made life easy for residents who had been isolated from accessing health care services.
Residents say that unlike in the past when they used to long distances to reach get health services, they now don’t have to worry about the time wasted and incurring expenses anymore.
Bugarura Island is located in Lake Kivu, Rwandan side of the border with DR Congo in Bushaka cell, Boneza sector, Rutsiro district in the western province. The Island is inhabited by 1794 people in 357 families in two administrative villages of Bugarura and Rutagara.
The Bugarura post health center was constructed in 2010. One of the oldest residents at the island, Nyiranturanyenabo Faraziy, 60years, who came on the island at the age of five, narrates that her parents had to literally care her for long distances when she was sick.
She says that it was not easy to access other health centers which were located distant sectors such as Kayove health center in Ruhango sector, and one located in Boneza sector across the lake; in which case some of the patient would arrive there is bad shape.
Other residents also say that the problem of water transport and heavy wild winds was also a major impediment for them to access the nearest health center which was later on built in Boneza sector.
A local leader, Deogratias Rutayisire said the decision of constructing a nearby health facility was taken by the district officials as a way of improving health services, especially for expectant mothers in the area- as a way of reducing risks of maternal and child mortality rates.
However residents decried the issue of lack of medics in the center saying that the services are only provided twice a week (Monday and Thursday) and the medical workers also come from a distant health center in Kinunu.
Local leaders acknowledge these claims and state that there are current negotiations between the district and the sector to have more health workers recruited with the help of the health ministry.
However, the leaders say that even in Kinunu health center there is lack of medical staff and this may take some time to have permanent medics in Bugarura health center.
The district leader, Byukusenge Gaspard however says that there is hope that this problem will be addressed as soon as possible, especially the problem of bring electricity lines to the area so as to boost the welfare of residents and health services.