HEALTH non-governmental organisations have urged government to investigate hospital executives buying luxurious vehicles at the expense of patients.
This comes in the wake of reports that Harare Central Hospital chief executive officer Peggy Zvavamwe bought a $88 359 vehicle at a time the institution had no drugs in its stocks.
Nurses at Harare Central Hospital were on Monday allegedly harassed by security guards after they picketed Zvavamwe’s office, protesting against the purchase of the Jeep Cherokee.
The Aids and Arts Foundation executive director Emmanuel Gasa said there was need for hospital bosses to cut on their luxuries so that patients got access to medication.
“Health rights, as enshrined in the Constitution, must be fulfilled and we need to create platforms like indabas (talks) where the Minister of Health and health officials meet to engage in dialogue with people on issues pertaining to health,” Gasa said.
“While hospital officials are being said to be engaged in corruption and spending on luxuries, our organisation notes with concern that patients are being asked to buy drugs at hospitals and clinics such as Caledonia, Mabvuku-Tafara and others.”
He said poor people and those internally displaced due to demolitions of their houses were the worst affected by these issues, as 90% of the people living in poor suburbs, and those going to Harare Central Hospital were unemployed.
Zvavamwe has insisted the vehicle’s purchase was above board, adding the hospital was operating normally.
Community Health Watch trustee Fungisai Dube said her organisation noted with concern the issue of the Harare Central Hospital CEO.
“It is incumbent upon health workers to put patients first. While these are allegations (against Zvavamwe), we can only imagine how many drugs and services could have been purchased from South Africa and other countries using the $88 000, especially at this time when the rand has fallen in value,” Dube said.
She said at a time when the country was experiencing economic difficulties, it was more realistic for hospital management to purchase cheaper vehicles in order to adequately cater for the needs of patients.
“Hospitals are now doing check-ups only, without giving complete treatment in the form of drugs. At maternity wards, patients have to supply their own gloves. We believe there are many other things happening at health institutions that government needs to further investigate,” Dube said.