HEALTH and Child Care Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo has dismissed the findings in the special audit report on private public partnerships at Chitungwiza Central Hospital saying they were a creation of people with ulterior motives.
By Kudakwashe Pembere
He said this during the Health Professions Authority Annual General Congress on Wednesday.
“So far we have an example of Chitungwiza central hospital which is in a mutually beneficial PPP. Irrespective of what you see on the Whatsapp, the social media, those are being engineered by people with ulterior motives. We also have Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals and Mpilo Central Hospital currently seeking suitors for the same partnership,” he said.
He also said collaboration between the Government and the private sector creates a window of opportunity for addressing problems of both Government and market failures in social service provision.
The decision to suspend the arrangement was reached after an internal special audit by the Health and Child Care ministry in 2017 at the time the new minister Obadiah Moyo was the CEO.
Conducted between July 17 2017 to 2018, following a request by the ministry, the audit exposed that Moyo presided over partnerships with various companies at the hospitals that were not benefiting the public.
Some of the partnerships include the management of the pharmacy, the radiotherapy unit, laboratory, mortuary, catering and finance, which exposed patients to higher costs while the health centre was getting little benefits.
According to the report, the partnerships resulted in partners gaining more than the hospital. Documents revealed that the hospital executive lacked legal advice in the formulation of the agreements.
“The revenue collected by the hospital declined from a monthly average of $315 740 in 2013 to $75 090 in 2017.
“As a result, the hospital was failing to pay its suppliers of goods and services thus compromising service delivery,” part of the report dated October 24, 2017 read.
The report was directed to permanent secretary in the ministry Gerald Gwinji and copied to principal directors in the ministry as well as the Comptroller Auditor-General.
Partners running the radiography section, laboratory, mortuary and pharmacy, the report claimed — were all collecting the revenue generated and banking the money in their bank accounts and the hospital’s accounts department was not involved.
“The hospital did not have any effective system for determining profits made by partners although their contracts stated that the commission remitted was based on the profit generated.
“This posed a risk of understated profits, leading to low commissions being remitted to the hospital,” the report observed.
The partners were neither paying commissions as agreed, nor availing books of accounts to the hospital accounts department for verification of the commission remitted.
Pricing of the medicines by the private pharmacy, Baloon Flight Pharmaceuticals, was not covered in the contract, resulting in most medicines being priced beyond the reach of the patients.
Additional reportage by The Standard