The rot at public hospitals

Nyangabgwe Referral Hospital PIC: THALEFANG CHARLES
Nyangabgwe Referral Hospital PIC: THALEFANG CHARLES

Government hospitals equipment costing millions of pula has been lying unused for a long time leaving a hefty cost to the government, the Auditor General has revealed the rot in a recent report to Parliament.

According to Auditor General Pulane Letebele, at Nyangwabgwe Referral Hospital, a new Aspiration System Machine worth P10 million delivered on November 7, 2019 has not been installed to be used for its intended purpose.

“The explanation given was that members of staff had not been trained on how to operate it. Two high-speed drilling machines valued at P549.829 each had also not been installed and were therefore, not serving the intended purpose. The explanation given was that the machines were delivered with some parts missing,” the report states.

It was also observed that a Phillips Achieva 1.5 T MRI radiology machine has been dysfunctional since 2017. The requirement was that the machine should always have at least 50% Helium gas for it to be functional. But on May 2, 2018, the Helium gas fell to 38%, causing the machine to cease.

At the Mahalapye Hospital, at the pharmacy, according to a detailed report, a lamina airflow machine for preparation of total parental nutrition was never put to use since it was purchased in 2010. While a water distiller which was supposed to be used for distilling water for preparation of suspension for babies was reported to have been dysfunctional since 2012. Still at Mahalapye Hospital, the Auditor General said two dental chairs, Sirona model was non-functional due to the compressors and vacuum pump not working. “Chairs were now being used for the procedure which did not require mechanical functions of the chairs, thus limiting the service delivery. Kavo dental chair was due for service in June 2020, but this was not done because the contract with the service provider expired in November 2019.

At the Audiology department, a diagnostic booth that was installed during the construction of the hospital has never been utilised since the hospital was commissioned. A fire alarm in the warehouse was last serviced in 2018. In the event of a fire, there is the risk of the alarm failing,” Letebele observed. Furthermore, at Sekgoma Memorial Hospital, an idle and non-functioning main laboratory A CD4 Count machine valued at P2 ,273 040 was bought and delivered in April 2020 but was never put to use because the officers were not trained to operate it. “At the Microbiology Laboratory, at the time of audit in July 2020, a Genexpert Machine for Tuberculosis testing was found to have been last serviced in 2016.

The value of the machine could not be established as there were no documents available,” the report reveals. It was also revealed that the equipment which was delivered at the old Sekgoma Memorial Hospital in September 2019, was supposed to be issued to old Serowe Primary hospital. At the time of audit in July 2020, the equipment was still stored at Sekgoma Memorial Hospital because the old hospital is yet to be commissioned for operation. Therefore, this included electrical equipment, which needed testing promptly after delivery to determine whether they functioned properly. It could not be established whether the equipment was under warranty, which may have already lapsed.

The audit showed that the Incinerator at Sekgoma Memorial hospital was not functional. “Further, a company which was engaged to collect clinical waste had not been collecting since May 2020 due to their equipment not functioning. It had also been reported that the company was failing to comply with the agreed service level agreement as they indicated that they could only collect the waste once a week, which contravened Clause 18.1 of the contract. According to contract Clause 5.1, clinical waste should not be stored for more than 48 hours without being collected. The uncollected, untreated and poorly disposed of clinical waste poses a risk of spreading the infection to the public at large,” the report says.

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