While medical institutions should remain at the core of society with services readily available to serve humanity, Harare Hospital weeps of US$33 million owed by debtors which is affecting service delivery at the institution.
Harare Hospital Chief Executive Officer Nyasha Masuka revealed that from 2009 to date, the hospital is owed US$33million by debtors.
Of the amount 40 percent is owed by medical aid societies while 60 percent is owed by individuals.
It is a loss that he feels has had a huge bearing on the institution in terms of service delivery.
“You can imagine if an institution is forgoing such large sums of money, it simply means service delivery is compromised together with the quality of care, availability of medicines and surgical consumables affected to a very large extent,” said the CEO.
The hospital‘s current financial challenge has resulted in the hospital failing to contract non nursing staff.
“We are suffering in terms of contract workers and security for the clinic and for the few we have, we are paying them with the money that is being paid by the patients which is not fair because that money should go back to purchase drugs.
With the world gradually digitising, Masuku feels a lot needs to be done in upgrading the hospital systems which he says have a huge contribution to the smooth run of the institution.
“ We have a big issue in this institution which is the lack of monitoring systems in the institution for example in the pharmacy there are no electronic systems that tell you what stock we have and what we don’t have.
“The system is still manual and so it does not link with the stock cards and anything else like the wards and the billing system meaning patients have to walk all over the hospital from department to department .
“If someone is discharged it takes 3-4 hours for them to get their bill because it’s added up on the same day from different pieces of papers.”
Masuka feels the hospital should have monitoring systems to establish a link within its structures if it is to reclaim its glory.
“Our number one priority is to put in place a system that monitors patients’ registration even if they are out patients, detail has to flow in the entire system, channel.
“This will also ensure that a patient knows their bill on a daily basis.”
Makusa said a synchronised electronic system will also foster transparency at the Hospital that once had corruption problems due to lack of transparency.
“The system should also extend to every other service at the hospital so that we know what we have, what we don’t have, who has used it and as well be able to track it.
“This creates some accountability because as it is right now imagine the risks that we have, of losses that occur and we might not know. We need to have a bar coding for everything even linen.
“The hospital should use data from utilisation and theatre services to make decisions and order more resources,” added Masuku.
Eliminating chances of a public private partnership to reclaim its standards Dr Masuku said the institution should be well funded by the state to be able to continue to accommodate low earning citizens.
“A private player is profit oriented and therefore if we are going to engage into public private partnership then we will be forced to hike prices making the hospital fail to cater for the rightful people it should.”
Instead the Hospital is looking for at least US100 000 cost recovery fund for drug injection of the essentials needed to enable patients to access all facilities in the same campus.