Masvingo Provincial Medical Director (PMD) Dr Amadeus Shamu
. . . who really had stolen the equipment?
. . . Makurira Clinic never investigated
MASVINGO – Who really had stolen the renal unit equipment which initially reported missing from Masvingo General Hospital which was recovered a few weeks ago?
The recent theft of the renal unit equipment raised concerns of security and accountability in public health institutions as many people wondered how parts of a donated renal unit can go missing under the watch of the whole hospital management.
A team from Masvingo General Hospital and the police were doing investigations for the past few months but nothing has come out so far. It also emerged that Makurira Memorial Clinic was never investigated in connection with the renal unit equipment, but Agape Renal Services who are the tenants at Makurira clinic were, instead, actual subjects of the investigation.
Though the equipment was recently recovered at the hospital in very unclear or rather mysterious circumstances, suspicion is high that one of the management staff could have been involved in the theft before probably returning after realising the heat of the investigations.
Mthulisi Masaile, a hospital employee from the Human Resource Department is reported to have discovered the equipment.
Police acknowledged there were real worries as no arrest had been made.
"I will have to check with the investigation team on how far they have gone," said Zimbabwe Republic Police acting Masvingo provincial spokesperson Assistant Inspector Kudakwashe Dhewa.
Masvingo Provincial Medical Director (PMD) Dr Amadeus Shamu said he was equally worried that police is taking long to finish the investigations.
"We are looking forward to the police to provide us with answers after having formally reported the issue to them. The equipment was mysteriously found at a place we searched before which means there might be someone who returned it later. We therefore, look forward to hearing from the police," said Dr Shamu.
"The equipment was donated and I wonder how will we be trusted with bigger projects when the culprit is still operating in our circles? I also wasn't pleased by the way the equipment had been stored in the first place. How could a machine of such value be put in an insecure room?" Dr Shamu said.
An official in the Zim - China Project, which sourced the renal unit, also showed dissatisfaction with how hospital authorities had handled the matter.
"The situation is ridiculous I can say. We were shocked by how authorities handled the issue upon realisation that some parts were missing and that is last year. We told them in time to make a police report but that was only done when media reports began to appear.
"I am even surprised by how the equipment suddenly reappeared in a storeroom in which we also helped to thoroughly search when the parts went missing," the official said.
The official also said the project had not faced any such challenges in other provinces.
"Similar equipment was donated to Mutare, Marondera, Gwanda and Chinhoyi but no such challenges were faced. Knowing how vital the unit was to the needs of the province, I had pledged to replace the missing equipment. The donation was meant to lessen costs faced by patients in accessing renal health services," the official added.
In its investigations, TellZim News talked to sources working at the hospital and they attributed the saga to top hospital management.
"It is all more suspicious because the security department wasn't notified when the unit was delivered though standard procedure dictates that all new arrivals be registered with the department for the capture of serial numbers and other security details.
"People in the security department only got to know about the machine when Dr Shamu came this other day demanding to know why the machine was being kept in a derelict room with broken windows and a door that could not be locked. This means the management had planned this from the beginning because they could have followed proper procedures by notifying the security department about the new equipment," a source said.
A health practitioner told TellZim News that many people cannot afford dialysis services in private institutions with transplants largely not an option in a country with relatively few organ donors and the required expertise.
People who need kidney transplants normally go to South Africa and India where they reportedly have to fork out between US$16 000 and US$24 000 plus transport and accommodation costs.
It is therefore, worrying that no culprits have been booked so far in connection with the equipment, and if no arrests are effected, this might send a wrong message to other donors who may want to assist the hospital in future.topnews