Deputy Minister travels to India to purchase ‘non-usable’ hospital equipment

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By Anna Chibamu

SENIOR public hospital doctors have implicated Health and Child Care deputy minister Chamunorwa Mangwiro in the procurement of non-usable equipment with no brand names for the manufacturer, it has emerged.

This is after the top government official allegedly travelled to India to purchase on behalf of government, a consignment of from a company known as Norula Exports based in New Delhi, India.

The doctors Monday told a Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care that the procedure that was used has caused more challenges in government hospitals as only 10 % of it is usable.

“What happened with the Indian consignment was that Dr Mangwiro called a member of the Department of Surgery and telling him he was going to India to buy equipment.

“Maybe he was in the departure lounge, but the member declined and told him that this was not the way how things were done.

“Some people (hospital staff) alleged they got images on WhatsApp from the Minister asking whether the equipment shown on WhatsApp was the correct one.

“The endoscopic equipment was not usable and doctors refused to use it. Equipment was not branded. A sticker from a company not known to be a manufacturer Narula Exports from New Delhi was named as the company supplying the equipment,” Mbuvayaesango said.

He added, “When the equipment arrived, there was a big ceremony at the Airport in Harare. The President said, ‘I am not a doctor but is this the correct equipment that was bought?’”

Mbuvayesango said that procurement of the correct hospital equipment was a very important aspect in terms of health delivery system, further discouraging its central buying.

“Every minister or official will know. Whenever there is a crisis, somebody says give us a list and when we have done that after every three years. Each time you point out you need equipment, the default answer is give us a list.

“It goes on and on, people demanding a list. In terms of being consulted, we think procurement should not be done by central hospitals, if done centrally.

“It means the end user has no input into the equipment that is bought. In the Indian consignment, members got calls and pictures on Whatsapp being asked if the equipment was correct.”

Mbuvayaesango said the end user determines what equipment is purchased.

“The tendering system does not work. There is brand that we know will last. Some brands are cheap and do not even last for two or three years. We were consulted but when it came to actual purchasing, we were not involved.

“I and Dr Mangwiro were put in procurement board, but we were never called in for any meetings because we were said to be very busy. Maybe there is a deliberate ploy to exclude the end user,” alleged Mbuvayesango.

Dr Shingai Nyaguse president of Senior Hospitals Doctors Association (SHDA) added that company representatives from Indian seller later came into the country but they failed to make the equipment work.