SENIOR doctors have distanced themselves from the procurement of the Indian medical equipment which came not only in bits and pieces but unsafe for use.
By Kudakwashe Pembere
Giving oral evidence before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care, the Senior Hospital Doctors Association (SHDA) through Professor Faith Muchemwa gave the background which led to the procurement of the equipment.
Prof Muchemwa said meetings were held between the senior doctors and the First Lady as well as President Emmerson Mnangagwa. From that meeting a list was made by the doctors, the end users of the equipment which was submitted to the Health Ministry.
On a few occasions, the Ministry of Health communicated with the group of doctors for additional equipment specifications. This communication was electronic.
“After the above process there was no further involvement of the doctors’ group during the process of purchase of the equipment. Feedback from the Clinical Divisions While some of the equipment has been deemed unfit for our environment, such as the theatre table and anaesthetic machines, other equipment awaits commissioning. The Hospital Equipment and Maintenance Department has reported that they are waiting for some parts of some of the equipment to enable them to assemble it,” she said.
SHDA president Dr Shingai Nyaguse fielding questions from parliamentarians said at Parirenyatwa Hospital, the hospital equipment engineering maintenance department had said 2 percent of the equipment was working.
“That figure of 2 percent was that which came from Parirenyatwa Hospital Equipment and we are not privy to entire consignment as you know Hospital Administrations are different also. We are not privy to what came either at Harare or Parirenyatwa. All we have is what the hospital engineering department said which is the same information they gave you,” she said.
Dr Nyaguse said when parliamentarians visited Parirenyatwa Hospital the Deputy Minister John Mangwiro stood up to mention by name the doctors he worked with to purchase this equipment.
“This is what we wanted to clarify with you the doctors’ names are now on public record as being involved in the purchase of this consignment from India. We wanted to clarify the extent to which the doctors were involved.
“We were involved in the generating of the list of urgently needed equipment to revive the hospitals and the equipment specifications. We gave the deputy minister the list, that’s where our involvement ended,” she said.
The doctors said the equipment missed certain components with others being bought as second hand from India as confirmed by Dr Mangwiro last time presenting his side of the story. Dr Azza Mashumba said as doctors they are not particular about branding but concerned with safety of equipment.
“We are not particular abound branding. The reason for pursuing this is we knew the equipment. We were very happy when the deputy minister said that those parts are coming and we are looking forward to it. If those parts come and those machines work, Let’s use them. We are really looking forward to use them. There is a lot of work to do with them. We are not particular about branding but if those machines are safe, we don’t mind what the name is. We just need that equipment to come,” she said.
Health and Child Care deputy Minister Dr John Mangwiro early this month told parliamentarians that he was in constant WhatsApp communication asking the doctors the types of equipment they needed.
Deputy Minister Mangwiro said he did not go to India to buy equipment, but was on a different mission.
He, however, ended up assisting because it was an emergency.
Dr Mangwiro said he contacted staff at the Zimbabwean Embassy in India and they identified the suppliers.
“I was given a list by Faith Muchemwa. The choice of the company was not mine, but was done by health and embassy officials. All I did was to carry the list. I did not buy or distribute the equipment.
“When the equipment came, the company sent its engineers who came and went back and they are expected to come back to commission the equipment,” he said.