Uneven distribution of medical resources affects hospital services

Thursday April 11 2019

hospital

Buying of medical equipment without first carrying out a needs assessment is leading to costly losses in some major hospitals. PHOTO | CYRIL NDEGEYA  

By LEONCE MUVUNYI
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Procurement of medical supplies without first carrying out a needs assessment is leading to uneven distribution and affecting service delivery in major hospitals across the country.

According to a report released last week by Members of the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC), poor procurement practices at the health ministry have led to shortages or an oversupply of medical resources in some hospitals.

This has seen equipment lay idle such as incubators for almost 14 months, almost 300 desktop computers, bought for over Rwf179 million, have not been used for over eight months.

The health ministry said the computers were waiting to be installed with the Global Positioning System before distribution.

An inspection carried out in 2015 found that an incinerator, which cost over Rwf700 millions of tax payers’ money, has been idle for over six years.

However, the Ministry of Health said the manufactures were supposed to fly into the country to install it.

PAC members faulted the health ministry with squandering the medical resources.

“Some health centres have an over-supply of equipment while others suffer due to a lack of key resources.

This makes me wonder if you follow any type of procurement plan,” said Mediatrice Izabiriza, member of PAC.

Beline Uwineza said some health centres have surplus beds, yet they don’t offer inpatient services while some referral hospitals struggle due to a lack of beds.

The members of PAC gave an example of Kinazi Hospital among others, which has plenty of space for patients but lacks beds.

Jean Claude Ntazimana said in Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Kigali (CHUK)’s emergency room, patients sleep on the floor.

Rwanda Today carried out a survey in some hospitals in Kigali, and found an acute shortage of beds compared with the number of the patients admitted.

Currently, in Muhima Hospital, which is the Nyarugenge district hospital, official figures show that with a 128-bed capacity, the referral maternity hospital records 9,000 births every year, which is 25 women giving birth daily.

According to the Auditor-General’s report, the Uneven distribution of medical resources affects hospital services Poor procurement practices at the health ministry have led to shortages or an oversupply of medical resources in some hospitals health ministry scored average on management, only meeting 32 out of 57 resolutions and recommendations.

The Ministry of Health said that in some cases donors bring in medical equipment and supplies without notifying the health ministry or without carrying out a needs assessment.

“There are equipment that were brought in by donors and those that were procured by the ministry, but without carrying out a need assessment,” Health Minister Diane Gashumba told the committee.

She added that the ministry carried out a needs assessment in health centres and hospitals, to enable it to procure medical supplies on a need basis.

“We have a medical and equipment management system, which we urge all health facilities to use in order to inform us about which resources they have and their date of manufacture, so that we can arrange distribution of those that are needed,” said Dr Gashumba.

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