PARIRENYATWA Group of Hospitals requires US$31 million if it is to operate efficiently as a central hospital, the hospital’s group chief executive officer Ernest Munyawu told Parliament last week.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
Munyawu told the Ruth Labode-led Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health that the hospital required early release of its budgetary allocation because since September last year when the doctors went on industrial action, it had not been generating enough revenue from user fees.
The committee had visited Parirenyatwa Hospital in response to a petition by the Senior Hospital Doctors’ Association, which had asked Parliament to investigate the rot in the country’s health delivery system, including staffing issues.
“For us to say we are a hospital, we need an injection of US$31 million, but we have said even if we do not have that money, what we need in order to function is US$1,7 million,” Munyawu said.
“Since September 2019, we have not been collecting enough revenue and we need an injection from the fiscus.”
He told MPs that Parirenyatwa Hospital had 1 200 beds, adding that under normal circumstances, there would be a 90% to 100% occupancy rate, but this has decreased due to the doctors’ industrial action.
“In terms of the number of patients, we did 14 405 theatre operations in 2018, but these dropped to 7 107 in 2019 and this can be explained by the incapacitation that happened. We also had 50 553 persons on casualty in 2018, but in 2019, we recorded 46 025. For outpatients, we had 121 765 in 2018, but in 2019, the figure dropped to 94 693. Industrial action contributed to the reduction of the patients we were able to attend to,” he said.
Munyawu also told the committee that inflation had severely affected hospitals as they could not procure critical sundries and medicines.
“Foreign currency shortages affect us in relation to equipment and sundries because a lot of them are imported. There is also ageing infrastructure as most of our equipment is getting into 10 to 11 years and we have got to a point where we need it replaced,” he said, adding that the referral system had also left Parirenyatwa inundated with patients from elsewhere, which put a lot of pressure on infrastructure and sundries.
While Sally Mugabe Central Hospital (formerly Harare Central Hospital) has severe water problems, Munyawu told the committee that Parirenyatwa had a 2,5 million megalitre tank which supplies the hospital.
“We are the only hospital with Zupco facilities and we pay $60 000 to$70 000 per month to bring staff to hospital. We also provide staff with bread and tea in the mornings, and we provide cheap accommodation for them,” he said.