Cletus Mushanawani Senior Writer
THE introduction of the interbank exchange rate eroded the US$3,5 million that was released by Government for the purchase of critical heart equipment for Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals’ Catheterisation Laboratory, before the hospital could buy the equipment.
Hospital chief executive Mr Ernest Manyawu was reacting to allegations made last week by University of Zimbabwe consultants to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care chaired by Dr Ruth Labode that the money had gone missing.
Mr Manyawu, said the money was still in the hospital’s bank account.
“In 2018, the Ministry of Health and Child Care and the Ministry of Energy and Power Development launched the Open Heart Surgery Project at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals.
“This launch was done after the hospital had secured sponsorship from the National Oil Infrastructure Company for the disadvantaged members of the society who needed open heart surgery.
“Dr David Chimuka, a cardiothoracic surgeon gave a vote of thanks and in his speech, he stated that Zimbabwe was the only country in Southern Africa, which did not have aCatheterisation Laboratory equipment.
“Government, through the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development transferred US$3,5 million for the purchase of the Cathlab on April 24, 2018,” said Mr Manyawu.
He said the disbursement was done before the preliminary works and tender process had been initiated.
The tender process was initiated in June 2018 and deadline of bids was September 28, 2018.
Mr Manyawu said the tender was awarded to Continental Marketing through the Special Oversight Procurement Committee in April 2019.
“However, it is important to note that this was after SI of February 2019 which established the interbank rate between the US dollar and RTGS dollar. After this new Monetary Policy Statement, the US$3,5 million was converted into RTGS at the bank rate and was no longer adequate to pay for the equipment.
“The changes in the values of our currency by more than 1 400 percent within one year delayed the purchase as it would have meant using funds for other services to top up and procure the Cath Lab.
“The money is still in the hospital bank account and the hospital is mobilising additional funds to bridge the gap to procure the equipment,” said Mr Manyawu.
Turning to alleged opaque engagement of a private pharmacy to offer services at the hospital as well as rampant corruption allegations against management, Mr Manyawu said they decided to contract a private pharmacy at the hospital for the convenience of patients who were being forced to get medicine elsewhere due to non-availability of medicine at the country’s major referral hospital.
“This suggestion actually came from patients and relatives, many of whom were not familiar with the city as our catchment area covers the whole country. It was therefore a big challenge for them to source medicines outside the hospital.
“This arrangement has subsisted with three pharmacies, Savanna (September 2013 to August 2016), Ambika (September 2016 to August 2019) and now Divine. The hospital has made sure that the pharmacies were engaged through proper tender procedures,” he said.