A serious financial crisis has forced Mpilo Hospital in Bulawayo to extend its begging bowl to schoolchildren in the city, it has emerged.
BY MUSA DUBE
The hospital, whose standards have over the years deteriorated due to lack of funds, is asking schoolchildren to contribute at least one rand to help improve its services.
Mpilo Hospital Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Lawrence Mantiziba said the institution was facing many challenges in service delivery due to financial constraints.
He said the hospital was taking several initiatives to save it, including asking for one rand contribution from schoolchildren.
“Mpilo is now building community relations. Schoolchildren in Bulawayo are contributing one rand and some have already started,” he said during a tour of the hospital by Health and Child Care minister David Parirenyatwa last Friday.
He said the hospital was faced with a shortage of important drugs.
“Drugs and surgical stores are all ill-stocked. Provisions for patients are inadequate, while cleaning detergents, protection clothing and linen are in short supply,” said Mantiziba.
“Other challenges faced by the hospital are in theatres where only four out 12 are fairly working. Out of seven elevators only two are functioning. The laundry has not been spared as most of the equipment there is obsolete.”
Mantiziba said the infrastructure at the hospital was dilapidated and about US$15 million was urgently needed for renovations.
“The hospital infrastructure is being affected due to leaking roofs. The financial situation is equally critical with the hospital basically surviving on the
US$15 000 raised weekly,” he said.
Mantiziba said the hospital was providing compromised health care service and was not in a position to handle any major disaster. The hospital can accommodate 2 222 patients but currently has 1 770.
HOSPITAL OWES OVER US$2 MILLION
Lawrence Mantiziba said there was a critical shortage of manpower especially those dealing with specialist services.
He said out of the 41 specialist consultant doctors required, only 11 were available, with the hospital not having a single radiologist.
“From the period January to October 2013, releases to the hospital on approved 2013 recurrent expenditure budget of US$1,9 million have been a mere
$576 029. As per the 2013 approved budget, Mpilo should have received a total of US$1 416 200 thus resulting in deficit funding of US$840 171,” said Mantiziba.
He revealed that the hospital owed over US$2 million to drug suppliers.
The Mpilo boss said since 2009, the hospital had accumulated a total debt of US$2 684 061 for goods and services received on credit from suppliers.
‘Government to address some of the challenges’
Most of the suppliers were owed money from as far back as January 2011. The debt was largely due to the shortfalls of the disbursements received against the approved budgets during the period January 1 2009 to October 31 2013, he said.
“Due to the liquidity challenges the hospital is experiencing, it is becoming increasingly difficult for the hospital to find suppliers willing to accept the hospital’s orders for goods and services,” said Mantiziba.
Services and laundry suppliers who supplied the hospital with services are now threatening to take legal action to recover what they are owed by the hospital,” he said.
He said the reimbursement maternity user fees have not been forthcoming.
“Submitted claims for reimbursement from October 2012 to September 2013 totalling US$2 405 550 are still to be paid. This deficit had affected the smooth operations of the hospital,” said the official.
“The current nurse patient ratio is 1:15 where as the standard ratio is 1:5. The staff bids for nurses have not received a positive response after the expansion of the maternity hospital, paediatric hospital and the opportunistic infections clinic,” he said.
Mantiziba said the mortuary had a carrying capacity of 30 bodies, although it carried a daily average of 100 bodies. “The cooling system of the mortuary is old. Working conditions are generally unpleasant as it is an old institution with bare minimum furniture and equipment,” he said.
The Mpilo boss added that the completion of a new mortuary had been stalled due to financial constraints.
Parirenyatwa said he was concerned at the state of the hospital. He promised that the government would address some of the challenges.
“It is sad that a hospital like this one which serves half of the country has no radiologist. We need to equip this hospital in terms of human resources. The supply chain of drugs is also poor,” he said.
Parirenyatwa said the infrastructure, particularly the main building was now dilapidated and needed attention.