The Ministry of Health and Child Care has found itself in a quandary as the weight of the whole country is lying heavily on 134 functioning ambulances out of a fleet of 282, the latest Auditor General’s report has revealed.
The debt ridden ministry’s bid to explain the ambulance shortages shifted the weight from its camp to the much overused excuse of economic meltdown being the reason behind the current predicament it has found itself in.
“The functions of the ministry shall amongst other responsibilities be, to promote the public health, and the prevention, limitation or suppression of infectious and contagious diseases within Zimbabwe,” reads the report.
“In order for the ministry to promote public health it requires ambulances to provide transport to patients. Examination of the asset register for the Ministry however revealed a constraint in the provision of transport to patients around the country.
“As at December 31, 2018 the Ministry had 282 ambulances and out of the 282, 134 were functional whilst 148 were non runners.”
Due to the current statistics, there is a great risk of patients not being transported to medical facilities for assistance in time putting them at great risk and increase in mortality rate.
Consequently, the ministry finds itself in violation of Section 76 (i) of the Constitution which states that all citizens and permanent residents in the country have the right to access basic health-care services.
The ministry has also failed to pay service providers for the repair of broken vehicles while other vehicles were still scattered around the country and at great risk of being vandalised and have important parts stolen.
In response to the findings, the ministry said it was aware of the inadequacies.
“This inadequacy is due to the current economic situation prevailing in the country which had affected the disbursement of financial resources from Treasury to the ministry. Despite this lack of financial resources to buy ambulances the ministry has approached different partners to assist in this endeavour.”
The ailing ministry is buried deep in debt as it owes various suppliers over $40 million also risking losing ou t on these business partners as a result.
“According to the ministry’s creditors list as at December 31, 2018 an amount of $40 805 807 was owed to various suppliers. The uncleared balances negatively affected service delivery.”