Ben Nangombe, Executive Director of the Ministry of Health and Social Services, has denied allegations made by PDM member of parliament Hidipo Hamata that doctors at the Engela Hospital utilize mobile phone flashlights due to power outages, a lack of sewerage, and a lack of washing services.
Hamata further claimed that the hospital’s washing service is inoperable.
According to Nangombe, the Engela District Hospital has two standby power generators.
“One is fully operational and the other is undergoing maintenance as conductors on one of the generators were burnt during a thunderstorm. According to Hospital Management, there has been no instance where Doctors use torch lights or mobile phones to operate in theatre,” he says.
He goes on to say that the claims are just “sensational” and “irresponsible” since they are not founded on facts.
This occurs after Hamata published a Media Release on January 16, 2023, professing his supposed discovery during a visit to Engela District Hospital.
Nangombe claims that Hon Hamata’s objectives for issuing the abovementioned non-release are known only to himself because he did not have the decency to debrief the Hospital Management after his visit in order to be furnished with information on any concerns, observations, or issues he may have.
“He, unfortunately, arrived at uninformed conclusions. He used the same to misinform the public. The Hospital Management would have gladly provided clarifications on any matter to the Hon Member of Parliament. Yes, our Health sector is facing some challenges. Many are being addressed on an ongoing basis and good progress is being made. We, as a Ministry of Health and Social Services, are grateful for the support and resources put at our disposal to improve and strengthen our health system,” he said.
The ministry asserts that theatre services are not scheduled when there is a power outage and that this allegation is baseless and false.
Further that the laundry machines are serviced and maintained by private-sector companies.
“Purchase Orders have already been issued to fix the machines. The supplier is waiting to receive spare parts. To ensure continuity of services without disruption, laundry is washed at the nearest health facilities. We ensure that no patients use dirty linens in the hospital,” said Nangombe.
Meanwhile, another concern addressed was the sewage pump, and Nangombe stated that the replacement of the Sewerage pump has been submitted to the Ministry’s Procurement Unit.
In the interim, an agreement has been reached with Helao Nafidi (HN) Town Council to ensure that wastewater generated in the Hospital is securely disposed of.
“No problems related to sewerage have been experienced inside the hospital because the Helao Nafidi pump is still running. No other issue related to sewage services is currently being experienced in the hospital. This arrangement fits in well with the philosophy of a whole-of-government approach to the delivery of public goods and services. In fact, the more Offices, Ministries and Agencies work together and jointly to provide public services, the more savings the Government will realise in the long run,” he explained.
In terms of the mortuary, three of the fifteen cabinets of the Old Mortuary are no longer operational because the compressors burned out due to power outages.
The Procurement Management Committee is also looking into the situation.
The ED, on the other hand, underlined that the hospital has another fully functional and distinct morgue that can house up to 20 human remains.
As a result, the Hospital has not suffered any capacity constraints in the morgue.
“We dissuade leaders at all levels to refrain from making unfounded and non-factual averments that have the effect of negatively affecting health-seeking behaviour by members of the public. Let us all work together on the basis of truth to help encourage our people to access health care services when they need it, not to discourage them from doing so through unfounded allegations,” Nangombe concluded.