Mozambique: Donated Equipment Stolen From Beira Hospital

Maputo – The management of Beira Central Hospital has confirmed that 70 per cent of the medical equipment donated to the hospital just a year ago by the Rotary Club of Australia has been stolen, and ended up in a private clinic, reports Tuesday’s issue of the Maputo daily “Noticias”.

According to a report given to Sofala provincial governor Helena Taipo, the stolen equipment intended for the hospital’s operating theatres alone was valued at between 400,000 and 500,000 US dollars.

On Monday some of the stolen goods were recovered notably a surgical table and two beds which were being used in the “Sorridente” private clinic.

The scandal came to light thanks to an investigation undertaken by the Beira Rotary Club. Its chairperson, Andrew Jennings, told a Beira press conference on Monday that the Rotary Club of Australia had delivered, in February 2015, a 40 foot container full of equipment intended for the hospital.

But in October it was noticed that 19 surgical beds and a surgical table had disappeared, leaving some of the hospital’s patients obliged to sleep on the floor.

Jennings said the Rotary Club approached the hospital management several times asking for the whereabouts of the missing goods. The only explanation given was that the equipment had been scrapped, as it was obsolete. Since the equipment had been new in February 2015, this claim made no sense.

A delegation from the Rotary Club of Australia was due to visit Beira to see how its donation was being used, and so Jennings decided to ask for an audience with Taipo. When she was informed, she called the hospital managers to her office, and eventually it was conformed that there was a corrupt scheme in place, whereby equipment was stolen and then written off as obsolete.

The Sofala provincial government spokesperson, Helcio Canda, said this scheme was made possible by the way the hospital received the donation, which completely bypassed the Provincial Directorate of Health and the governor’s office. Canda regarded this as symptomatic of the disorganization reigning in Beira Central Hospital.

“It’s a total lack of discipline with frequent thefts of medicines, countering the efforts of the government, in partnership with investors, to serve the people with dignity”, declared Canda. “The material is stolen from the central hospital and sent to a private clinic”.

The provincial government regards the entire hospital management, particularly the director, Augusto Macome, as responsible for the scandal, and has called for exemplary punishment. Meanwhile Taipo has demanded that all the stolen material be returned to the hospital.

Source: All Africa