The politics of the procurement of medicines does not matter to the people, what matters is the availability of medicines at public hospitals and clinics.
Also, the availability of doctors, pharmacists and nurses without medication makes a health institution a white elephant or useless, the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Health, Ms Lindelwa Dunjwa, told the Public Service Commissioner (PSC) for Gauteng and Limpopo, Mr David Mkhwanazi, at Parliament today.
“People have public hospitals and clinics in their communities and have no alternative health institutions. It is based on that they demand medication from these institutions irrespective of how it was procured and from which medical supply depot it came,” said Ms Dunjwa. She said people put their faith for better health on these public health institutions that are located near them in their villages, townships and in informal settlements.
The Public Service Commission appeared before the Committee to brief it on the findings of the inspections it conducted between 2012 and 2013 on the availability of medicines and medical equipment at the Limpopo district hospitals and clinics and the role of district offices.
According to Mr Mkhwanazi, the Public Service Commission did the inspections driven by the fact that among the government’s priorities and outcomes is a long and healthy life for South Africans. He told the Committee that the key themes for collecting data for announced inspections were the management of medicines and medical equipment and the unannounced inspections were guided by the principles of Batho Pele.
The specific objectives of the inspections, according to Mr Mkhwanazi, included the determination of the availability of medicines and equipment at clinics and district hospitals, to establish service site’s compliance with the implementation of the Batho Pele framework, to establish the role of district health offices in ensuring the availability of adequate medicines and equipment at clinics and district hospitals, and to establish whether the provincial health departments have developed guidelines and procedures to manage the selection, procurement, distribution and use of medicines and maintenance of medical equipment.
Among the problems which the inspections discovered according to Mr Mkhwanazi, was that the Limpopo Supply Depot was found to operate without a pharmaceutical licence and the Limpopo Medical Supply Depot was found with a large quantity of medicines that could not be distributed to the provincial health facilities as they had expired. Mr Mkhwanazi told the Committee that the Limpopo Department of Health approached the Gauteng Province for a partnership in order to purchase medical supplies.
Ms Dunjwa praised PSC for briefing the Committee on the findings of the inspections and appealed to Mr Mkhwanazi to ensure that these problems are resolved.
“You may not have the power to do so but find a way to make sure that the problems you uncovered are resolved to ensure that the people of Limpopo have access to quality health services,” said Ms Dunjwa. She told Mr Mkhwanazi the inspections would be useless if there are no corrective measures in place.
Source : Parliament of South Africa