Chimedza pledges probe of hospitals

Deputy health minister Paul Chimedza says a probe into alleged corrupt practices at two hospitals will soon be launched.

Deputy health minister Paul Chimedza
Deputy health minister Paul Chimedza

Irregularities at Mnene Hospital were unearthed during a recent government tour. Mberengwa Hospital will also be investigated.

Mnene hospital is the province’s third largest referral centre, taking patients from to 35 clinics and four rural health centres in Mberengwa

During the tour by Chimedza and other senior government officials, organised at the behest of health minister David Parirenyatwa, it was discovered that Mnene Hospital had claimed $180,000 for a new X-ray machine in 2011, when the value should have been around $40,000. The hospital authorities, led by its medical superintendent Nyasha Makura, also failed to follow the mandatory tender process and instead bought the machine from a company called Food Miles.

Another irregularity concerned a state-of-the-art laundry machine bought early this year but still lying idle while hospital workers washed clothes and bedding by hand.

“It is sabotage. This is not what we expect. We expect proper stewardship of funds, especially if they are public funds. We pay people to deliver good services, not to steal. For now we have demanded that the hospital give us monthly reports on how they will be operating while we investigate the irregularities we noted,” said Chimedza.

Ziboniso Moyo, a senior administrator at Mnene Hospital, said the authorities at the institution were confident the price they paid for the X-ray was fair and justified and did not make any enquiries from other companies. On the reason for not gong to tender, Moyo said the hospital had followed a tender that was awarded to Food Miles for the supply of a similar X-ray machine by the United Bulawayo Hospital. The administrator added that machine was not working because the supplier had forgotten to install a component and efforts to have the firm rectify the problem had not succeeded.

At Mberengwa Hospital, three heavy generators were lying idle at a time when the institution was facing power cuts due to Zesa’s load-shedding. The authorities at the hospital said they were still to get technicians to make the connections but Chimedza described the matter as another case of incompetence that needed investigation.

Early this year Mnene Hospital was hit by water problems after it failed to secure funds to maintain the ultraviolet water treatment plant. Patients were forced to use raw water from the dam, exposing themselves to waterborne diseases.

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