GOVERNMENT has with immediate effect suspended the operations of private companies in all public hospitals to pave way for investigations into the ownership and operations of the companies concerned, Zim Morning Post can report.
The directive was issued by Ministry of Health and Child Care acting secretary, Gibson Mhlanga, in a letter addressed to the Provincial Medical Directors and Hospital chief executives.
The development comes on the backdrop of the Covidgate scandal where procurement anomalies were noted.
“The Honourable Acting Minister of Health and Child Care is requesting details of all private service providers at all government health institutions and to have their services suspended while investigations on their ownership and authentication of the Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) arrangement are being instituted,” reads part of the letter.
Some of the service providers that have been affected include pharmacies, pathology laboratories, radio-logical services and canteens among other facilities.
PPPs were introduced in the health sector by former minister of Health Obadiah Moyo ostensibly to improve the public health sector.
This was after service delivery in public hospitals had deteriorated due to lack of funding by government.
The facility was, however, abused by hospital CEOs who began to contract proxy companies without following due procedures while receiving kickbacks in return.
A 2018 audit report into Chitungwiza General Hospital’s PPP showed that the hospital’s revenue declined from a monthly average of $315 740 in 2013 to $75 090 in 2017.
The report further said as result, the hospital failed to pay its suppliers of goods and services, thus compromising service delivery.
The auditors noted that the hospital surrendered its premises, equipment, staff and entire operations to the PPPs in return for a percentage of the profit generated from provision of services to patients.
This posed a risk of improper safeguarding of assets and compromised service delivery.