On Sunday, February 12, 2023, Caritas Rwanda joined Ruli District Hospital (located in Gakenke District, Northern Province) to celebrate the World Day of the Sick.
The event started with a Holy Mass celebrated in the parish of Ruli, by His Eminence Antoine Cardinal Kambanda. In his homily, he referred to the message of His Holiness Pope Francis for the World Day of the Sick 2023, under the theme: “Take care of him”. We find this passage in the Gospel of Luke 10:35, where the Samaritan showed compassion by taking care of a person who had been robbed and injured by thieves, unlike the priest and the Levite.
The Cardinal also called on people to take care of the sick and elderly, starting with families, who should show them love. Addressing the patients of the Ruli District Hospital, His Eminence said, “On this day, remember that God loves you, and that we love you and pray for you”.
After the mass, the Christians brought various gifts for the sick, including food (fruit, vegetables, eggs, rice, maize flour, etc.), money, hygiene items and other items needed by the patient or his or her carer during their stay in hospital.
Nyiransabimana Placidie, who represented the patients at the ceremony, thanked the doctors who take care of them while raising the problem of the road leading to the hospital which is in bad condition. She also raised the issue of inadequate ambulances, and expensive medicines and that they are not paid by the community health insurance.
Reacting to these questions, the Governor of the Northern Province, Mrs. Nyirarugero Dancille, promised that the road will be built next year (2024), and assured that in case of an arrival of a new ambulance, Ruli hospital will be given priority. She said that some expensive medicines are now covered by the community health insurance. “There are still improvements. It is a long way. Maybe other expensive drugs will be covered by the insurance in the future”, she added.
The Governor commiserated with families who have patients in hospital or at home, reminding them that they must trust in God who is able to heal all diseases. “We have a country that loves its citizens, there are hospitals and health centers, and doctors ready to treat you every day”, she said. Although there are diseases that are difficult to prevent, she encouraged everyone to prevent them as much as possible by promoting hygiene in families, avoiding living with pets under the same roof, avoiding consuming alcohol that is not allowed, etc. She also called on everyone to go to the hospital before their condition worsens and to pay their health insurance contribution on time.
In addition, during the Mass, His Eminence Antoine Cardinal Kambanda inaugurated the Evangelization in families, which will be done from door to door, sharing the word of God between family members and those who visit them.
Celebrated for the 31st time this year, the World Day of the Sick is celebrated every 11 February. It was instituted on 13th May 1992 by Pope John Paul II in memory of Our Lady of Lourdes. It is not, however, a liturgical celebration.