Tanzania: Dr Gwajima Orders Massive Overhaul in Referral Hospitals

THE minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children Dr Dorothy Gwajima has ordered for a massive overhaul of management in 28 regional referral hospitals, as part of a quick intervention on the reported embezzlement of medicine in the facilities.

She issued the instructions on Monday after receiving a report from a probe team formed on 1st February this year, to investigate the reality on the ground following persistent complaints on lack of medicine and medical equipment in the public hospitals.

The team, comprising officials from the ministry and its various institutions, among other things, discovered a loss of medical equipment and medicine that were valued at 26.7bn/-.

According to the minister, concerns over shortage and lack of medicine were alarming but uncalled for since the government has increased the budget allocation for said service from 31bn/- in the year 2015/16 to 270bn.

"A report that I have received has proved beyond reasonable doubt that there was embezzlement, theft and sabotage on the handling of the medicine and medical equipment," She said.

"And this, to a large extent, was facilitated by the dishonest officers from national to local government council level at their respective working areas," she added.

She then instructed the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, Prof Mabula Mchembe to ensure the changes are made within 14 days and that disciplinary measures are taken to all who violated rules, regulations and procedures for purchasing and supplying medicine and medical supplies.

"Implementation of the directives should be done within 14 days from today (yesterday)," she insisted.

Prof Mchembe was also instructed to coordinate the review of the guidelines of cooperation between the health ministry and the President's Office, Regional Administration and Local Government together with all Regional Administrative Secretaries (RASs) on enhancing supervision on delivery of healthcare services.

She also called for assessment of regional hospital advisory boards performance, to establish the reason behind their failure to implement their responsibilities as stipulated in government circular no. 308 of 2014.

"Within 14 days from Monday (yesterday), the PS for Health portfolio should provide me with a detailed report, answering all issues that have been raised, all who were involved in the embezzlement should be held accountable" she said.

To ensure none of those who were involved are left untouchable, Dr Gwajima extended the instruction for the PS to make a close follow-up on the performance of the ministry's curative service department and the Pharmaceutical services unit.

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