Red tape delays Plumtree Hospital donation

People living in the diaspora have raised complaints about red tape at Zimbabwe’s borders that has delayed the processing of donated medical equipment meant for poorly-resourced local hospitals.

This negative development means local hospitals go for months without receiving their life-saving equipment while well-wishers also grow disheartened by the delays.

The Ministry of Health and Child Care has said well-wishers must send the medical equipment first to the ministry, which will receive the goods duty-free, then deliver to the recipients.

Plumtree Council Chairman, Councillor Fanisani Dube, narrated how an X-ray machine and a monitor purchased by Zimbabweans working outside the country, were kept for six months at the border post as authorities took their time to clear the goods.

“I am part of the organisation called Helping Hands, made up of Zimbabweans outside the country mostly South Africa, Botswana and the United Kingdom. We came together to assist our communities. We pooled resources and bought an X-ray machine that stayed six months in the border without clearance. Next time we bought a monitor and again the same story,” he said.

Clr Dube highlighted the red tape around donations was unnecessary as it affected desperate people in need of the equipment.

“This continues to suffocate us. May the ministry of health assist in facilitating that donations are cleared as soon as possible because the process takes forever,” lamented the council chair.

Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr John Mangwiro, noted that well-wishers must donate the medical equipment to the ministry first so that it can come in duty-free.

“I am informed that if you want your goods to come in fast, duty-free let them the machinery be donated to the permanent secretary in the ministry of health although the machinery is going to plumtree. The machinery will come to Plumtree and will not be taken anywhere but it would be duty-free and the clearance will not take long,” he said.

The deputy minister said if a mistake occurred and the donated equipment was sent elsewhere, the ministry would act on it.

“That should not take six months. You must tell us so that we clear the equipment for you. We don’t want to dishearten people who are donating. We want to act fast. If there’s a problem, get your paperwork together then we act immediately,” he noted.

Dr Mangwiro also urged the border officials to expedite the processing of donated goods.

“We don’t want to waste time and we don’t believe in bureaucracy or long days.  What are you doing with the machinery are you reinventing, or rebuilding it afresh. I don’t understand and the more you are not using it, the machinery only gets outdated. The longer it stays, it loses its value. We want well-wishers to tell us there’s a gadget that has come in and needs to be cleared in the shortest time possible. It’s important we do that, if we don’t we are in trouble,” said the deputy minister.

In 2016, South Africa-based Zimbabwean businessman, Justice Maphosa was up in arms with authorities at Beitbridge Border Post who reportedly held on to more than 1000 blankets he intended to donate to three local hospitals, as customs officials demanded duty from him.

Last year in March, the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority also seized dialysis equipment donated to Mpilo Central Hospital over unpaid customs duty amounting to 3 000 pounds, a development that affected an ongoing training programme for doctors and nurses who will use the equipment

The equipment was donated by the International Society of Nephrology supposed to be used to interpret kidney biopsies, as well as perform peritoneal dialysis for kidney patients.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button