Health system under siege


Assistant Minister of Health and Wellness, Biggie Butale has decried the systematic corruption bedeviling his ministry and plunging the health system into a crisis.

Answering a question about allegations about the endemic corruption at the ministry that has often led to chronic shortages of medications in public hospitals and clinics, the minister said, “ We are under siege. We have people that pay hospital staff to deliberately damage some of our equipment because they need patients to be referred to their private practices. The other day they poured water into an X-ray machine and you could tell that it was not just one person who would benefit from such, but a syndicate.”

Butale said that most of the time 90% of expensive equipment in public health facilities end up malfunctioning and suspicions are that they are deliberately damaged.

“Inspection of malfunctioning machines have often indicated that someone had removed a small part, like a fuse for example and thrown it away to force us to take patients to South Africa.”

Commenting on the crises the ministry had last year when scores of children who needed surgical operations were sent home to die because the hospital owed specialists in South Africa large sums of money, Butale said, “The crisis has opened a can of worms. The issue has never been about money but some greedy people who want to benefit from backhand payment from referrals to SA.”

Butale however noted that since his arrival at the ministry last year, management has made major changes to combat corruption and improve health care provision, including decentralising all activities to the District Hospital Management Teams.

“We want to link all our computers so that we can take stock of our drugs and know on time where we are running short,” he explained.

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How sad this is happening perhaps whoever is doing this needs to be educated that access to medical care is a top priority and all should have access to it and doing this is denying them that right
Is the fuse replaceable? Can the culprits be found ?