Calls to speed up procurement of hospital equipment

By Abigirl Tembo, Health Editor

THE Ministry of Health and Child Care has appealed to the Procurement and Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (PRAZ) to speed up the procurement process for medical equipment in order to save lives.

The long and tedious requirements of procuring new hospital equipment  is  adversely affecting the country’s health care sector as machines are taking long to be repaired or replaced.

A case in point is the Victoria Falls hospital x-ray machine which is yet to be replaced after breaking down in 2012.

Speaking after touring Victoria Falls hospital on the sidelines of a corporate governance training programme underway in the city, the Deputy Minister of Health and Child care, Dr John Mangwiro called for a paradigm shift in the procurement process.

“Some of the equipment is in a state of disrepair and when we asked the District Medical Officer, she explained that they have put orders for these things to be bought almost a year or two ago and the procurement process is tedious and long and up to now there is still nothing so definitely we saw that most things are not functional. We have to change or maybe quicken our procurement systems because this is taking back a lot of things. Out of many tests the laboratory can only do three, of which they should be doing more than 1 000.

“The fact that the procurement process is tedious really draws people back so there is a lot of space for improvement in all our hospitals across the country. The most important thing is that we’ve brought the procurement experts so that we see where the difficulties or lack of communication in order to move forward. We need to coordinate so that the patient and the nation can be gaining from the positive inputs which are being done,” he said.

Procurement and Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (PRAZ) Director Capacity Building, Mr Cliff Gondo is fully persuaded on the need for the board to prioritise procurement of hospital equipment.

“In terms of procurement I think the hospital staff has done well. They have managed to come up with a procurement plan and we now need to understand why they are not getting the things that they need on time. There are also things to deal with capacity building as PRAZ rules seem to be cumbersome. They seem to be troubling them, so we will get the PRAZ team to come and spend time with them, capacitate everyone including the medical staff in terms of how they go about their procurement processes.

“From there, we should be able to identify things that are urgent in terms of equipment or things that need to be repaired then we will see how PRAZ can best assist for the procurement process to be treated as urgent. Once things have been declared as urgent, it means that we can come up with short cuts to the procurement process they will not be lengthy but first of all we need to understand the exact requirements of the things that they are doing,” he explained.

The Ministry of Health and Child Care is conducting a board induction and corporate governance training programme for its public entities and professional associations under its purview to improve the country’s health delivery system.