City hospitals get ‘dead’ equipment

BY PRAISEMORE SITHOLE

The bulk of the medical equipment bought in India for government health institutions in Bulawayo is old, while some of it is not working, the Ruth Labode-led parliamentary portfolio committee on health has heard.

Officials at the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) and Mpilo Central Hospital told the committee during its recent tour of the institutions that the situation was dire due to the non-functional equipment.

UBH CEO Nohlanhla Ndlovu said only 38% of the equipment bought in India by government early this year was functional.

“We received six radiant warmers and of these only three are working,” Ndlovu said.

“The ones, which are not working do not have spare parts. We also received three incubators and none of them are working.

“We also received one ventilator and it is not working. It has no battery for power backup. We also received a portable X-ray machine and it is not working.”

The UBH boss also said the hospital received seven continuous airway pressure machines and none of them was working.

“They could not be assembled because of some missing parts,” Ndlovu added.

“We also received ventilators for adults and they are not working, they need adjustment. Out of all the equipment we received, only 38% is working.”

Labode told journalists that just like in Harare, the health institutions had to return to the suppliers of the non-functional secondhand equipment such as chronoscopes.

“We are following up on the Indian machines and we have seen that here in Bulawayo it is even worse because the hospitals agreed that the machines were secondhand,” said Labode.

“So it means there is someone who got
US$90 000 to go to India and bought secondhand machines.

“They should do an audit on how the equipment was bought because some money was indeed lost.”

During a tour of Mpilo Central Hospital, Labode indicated that Parliament received a petition from senior doctors who complained that the equipment from India was not working and was secondhand.

However, Mpilo authorities could not immediately give statistical information on the non-functioning equipment though the administration, according to Labode, was not happy about it.

Doctors recently accused government of sourcing “secondhand” hospital equipment after it procured US$1 million worth of hospital machinery from the United Arab Emirates and India.

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