ONE of Zimbabwe’s major referral hospitals, Mpilo Central Hospitals has been operating without a board of management between March 2019 and December 2020, leading to a possible compromise of service delivery, according to the latest Auditor-General’s report.
In her report on State Enterprises and Parastatals for the year ending December 31, 2020, tabled before Parliament recently, Auditor-General Mildred Chiri said the hospital in Bulawayo had no board after the previously elected members had completed their term. She said this was in contravention of Section 6 of the Second Schedule of the Health Services Act that stipulates that board vacancies should be filled within three months.
“The hospital was operating without a board from March 2019 to December 2020 following the expiry of the previous board members’ term of the office in March 2019.
“Management should timeously engage the responsible authorities and ensure that the board is appointed within three months from the date when the sitting board expires,” the report read.
It said absence of the board of management led to an acute shortage of man power as it was its mandate to allow the hiring of staff for the hospital.
Chiri said there was a shortage of specialists at the Mpilo, compromising service delivery, adding that management should ensure vacancies are filled.
“In terms of Section 20 of the health services act, the board should hire staff in order to provide for the care and treatment of patients,” she said.
“However, during the audit l noted that the hospital had a shortage of manpower, particularly specialists, such as, radiologists, dermatologists and the ear, nose and throat specialists.”
Mpilo Central is Zimbabwe’s biggest referral hospital, servicing the southern parts of the country, covering Bulawayo, Midlands, Masvingo, Matabeleland North and South provinces.
The hospital has experienced a mass exodus of doctors and nurses who left the country for other job opportunities leading to an acute shortage of health workers.
The health institution reportedly lost close to 300 health workers last year with several of its employees joining the great trek to the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and the United States of America.
The staff exodus also hit the hospital when government was grappling with the Covid-19 pandemic, which strained the already devastated health services.
Zimbabwe lost approximately 2 000 health workers in 2021 after the United Kingdom and other Western countries launched a massive recruitment exercise of these professionals to help deal with the pandemic.