By Thandeka Moyo
MPILO Central Hospital is owed over $40 million dating back to 2009 with Bulawayo residents constituting 62 percent of the health institution’s debtors.
This came out during a tour of the health institution by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee for Health and Child Care yesterday.
Mpilo financial director Mr Thomas Nyikadzino said the debts were crippling operations at the hospital which was operating on limited human and financial resources.
“We are owed close to $40 million especially by members of the public and several parastatals. Individuals owe a total of $25 961 620.
PSMAS owes us $988 952 and this debt dates back to 2009,” said Mr Nyikadzino.
Other medical aid societies which owe the hospital include Cimas, First Mutual Health, Corporate 24, Fidelity Medical Aid and First Mutual Health.
Mr Nyikadzino said Government departments and arms such as the police, army and correctional services also owed Mpilo.
Mr Nyikadzino applauded Government for availing $7 million to the hospital to cater for free maternity services which the hospital had been offering in the past.
Mpilo clinical director Dr Solwayo Ngwenya said the hospital had done well in reducing mortality rates though it needs ambulances and a revision of the staff establishment.
“We have a 1 000 bed capacity but due to economic challenges, we are failing to cope with the increased number of patients flocking to our hospital.
“This hospital was initially built for a population of 250 000 and now we have to adjust and cater for more than four million people,” said Dr Ngwenya.
He said the hospital serves a total of 1 200 patients daily in all departments.
He said on average the hospital pharmacy was 50 percent full and the institution was struggling to get some medicines from the National Pharmaceutical Company (Natpharm).
“We only have four ambulances and weekly we are forced to refer patients to Harare twice or thrice which means we are unable to meet demand.
“As I speak some of our wards are overpopulated because the hospital sometimes cannot accommodate the number of in-patients,” he added.
Dr Ngwenya also urged legislators to assist in the hospital’s lobby towards the lifting of the freeze on recruitment as staff shortages at Mpilo were affecting service delivery.
Musikavanhu legislator Retired Colonel Joshua Murire applauded Mpilo management for working hard to reduce mortality rates in general and offering specialist services to members of the public.
“We are proud of the hospital board and management for doing their best to run this public hospital.
“We will report about all the issues that were raised and work towards ensuring their problems are solved so that they are better placed to provide quality services,” said Rtd Col Murire. The Chronicle