Rwanda: In March, Rusumo leaders pushed for community ownership of the “Doc Taggart” Health Clinic they constructed. In early May, they learned from Kirehe Mayor that clinic ownership would be transferred to their organization. While this is a big challenge, leaders are now negotiating the specifics. They are looking for a qualified, committed medical professional to manage the clinic and work with the community to develop a business plan that will provide the best services possible to the Rusumo community.
How did this happen? In March 2017, 1000 people gathered to dedicate the health clinic in Rusumo. It has been serving more than 100 people each day since then. Recently, health officials selected to operate the clinic decided to close it on weekends. Through research, leaders discovered that this reduced service was part of a plan by ambitious people to take advantage of a national move that allows private enterprises to own and operate local clinics. Rusumo leaders are determined that the “Doc Taggart” clinic was going to be owned by the community that built it. Rusumo leaders called the Mayor of Kirehe District who had dedicated it to ask if he knew that health officials had closed the clinic on weekends. He express shock and promised immediate action not only to make sure it stayed open on weekends, but to support the community in their efforts to take ownership of the clinic and insure its proper operation for the long term. He has kept that promise.
Leaders are excited and ready to meet the challenge they face.