Mat South health bosses last visited Plumtree Hospital 4 years ago, Deputy Minister furious

Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr John Mangwiro was left incensed after learning that provincial health directors in Matabeleland South last visited Plumtree District Hospital in 2017.

The deputy minister who was touring the institution Wednesday was unimpressed with the state of Plumtree District Hospital and also noted that the absence from the tour of the Matabeleland South Provincial Medical Director (PMD), Dr Rudo Chikodzere and Provincial Nursing Officer (PNO) Joyce Sibanda was worrying.

The provincial heads are supposed to check on health institutions at least quarterly to carry out inspection and supervision checks.

But according to the Plumtree’s District Hospital’s Support and Supervisory Book seen by Dr Mangwiro, the last visit by Matabeleland South PMD and PNO was in 2017.

The PMD was absent in the tour and in her place was the acting PMD, Dr Philip Muza who said he had only been in office for three weeks.

Calling the PNO, the deputy minister asked her: “When did you last visit this place with the PMD? It has been four years since 2017. No wonder why things are like this. Have you ever visited this hospital yourself and where did you write?”

The PNO whispered, “Last week we were here,” but the deputy minister was angry and retorted “Do you think you deserve to be a PNO?”

She remained silent and Dr Mangwiro concluded, “I think you can see the conclusion on your own.”

Turning to the hospital’s administrator, Dr Mangwiro asked if they knew the PMD and PNO were supposed to make quarterly visits.

“When they are not coming like this, why didn’t you call them to say we need your visit or phone head office that there are no visits, they don’t come,” asked the deputy minister.

The administrator responded that the heads did visit but failed to document their visits.

“I think when they are here they need to strengthen their documentation,” said the administrator but the deputy minister dismissed it.

“I don’t trust you. I trust what is written. We need to take this issue seriously,” Dr Mangwiro said.

The deputy minister immediately assigned his personal assistant to conduct an audit on inspection visits made by provincial heads in all the country’s provinces.

“The PMD must sign every time they come to inspect the hospital, they were last here in 2017. I need all copies, photocopy each province and also note down visits by District Medical Officers, who prioritise clinics. I need those checked too, so we see what’s going on. This is horrible. The system is failing to flag this and the administrator should flag somewhere that the situation is tight. There must be a way for hospital staff to say they have had no visit and write a letter to bypass the person who is inspecting,” he said.

The deputy minister then turned to the Chief Director in the Ministry of Health and Child Care, Dr Maxwell Hove whether there were no adequate systems in place to monitor performance within the ministry.

“Dr Hove, if this is the system that’s in the whole country, we need to revamp the system. Is it the system or the people. Four years is big,  no matter what excuse you want to give me,” Dr Mangwiro said.

 The chief director said the system was there and was not followed by staff.

“We also have a structural issue that we need to discuss,” Dr Hove said.

The Support and Supervisory Book are for the heads to also register challenges encountered by health institutions so that these matters can be followed up on and solved.

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