INGUTSHENI Central Hospital claims it now has adequate drug stocks and food supply for its patients following a 200 percent budgetary increase from government.
The institution – the largest referral center for mental patients in Zimbabwe, was also one of the first beneficiaries of the Health Levy Fund, which acts as insurance for hospitals.
So far, Ingutsheni Hospital has used USS$650 000 from the Health Levy Fund to procure Central Nervous System (CNS) drugs, which are critical in psychosis therapy.
Recent reports had said the institution was facing a critical shortage of essential drugs, with some supplies having completely run out.
In a fact finding mission, CITE spoke to Ingutsheni Hospital Chief Executive Officer, Ernest Manyawu, who revealed government had increased its 2018 budget by 200 percent, which had boosted the institution’s stocks.
“As of 2017, our recurrent budget was $450 000 and for 2018 our recurrent budget is now $1.55 million. That’s effectively a 200 percent increase because of that we have been able to buy food and stock up on necessary drug supplies. What I have noticed is when you tell people you have drugs people don’t want to believe you, we don’t know why,” he said.
In addition, Manyawu said the health levy account introduced by the Ministry of Health and Child Care had topped up to the $1.5 million budgetary allocation,
“We used this money to buy CNS drugs, which are psychiatry medicines. We have a list of what we need to buy and if you say Ingutsheni doesn’t have drugs, it means we don’t have those in supply but we actually have them,” he claimed.
Ingutsheni Hospital sources its drugs from the National Pharmaceutical Company (NatPharm) and has a supply of 76 percent in stock.
“We are not going into the private market to buy drugs. I’ve been asked that question and people were actually assuming that because the private market is asking for US dollars that situation is applicable to us but no, we acquire our drugs from Natpharm. Senior management from NatPharm was here last week and we actually communicate with them.
“We produced a graph of our consignment and this year our drug supply is exceeds last year’s 70 percent. The drug availability is around 76 percent for CNS drugs that means we have enough for drugs for patients. When we don’t have a specific drug for a patient we have an alternative so we in terms of drugs we are ok,” he claimed.
Manyawu said in its planning model presented to the health ministry, some types of CNS drugs were lower as they had increased the dominator list.
“We had a list of 14 types of drugs required then it went up to 18 and then to 23. Initially last year we had 14 drugs on the list and we achieved 100 percent stock but when we moved to 18 drugs we were hitting 80 percent. Now that we have moved to 23 lists, we have 76 percent availability which for our purposes is good and everyone who comes in will have something,” he explained.
“For as long as the health levy fund is available, our medicines will be covered. From the day the health levy account came on board, Ingutsheni because of our peculiarity was actually among the first to utilise it. To date the ministry of health calculated and gave us a report that we have used USD$650 000 for those 23 drugs. That is why in the national health sector we talk about national health insurance because it makes a difference”.
As for food supply the situation is stable said Manyawu.
“We don’t have cases of pellagra and our children are actually well fed. Our worry now is the price instability on the market it will begin to affect as from January early next year that’s if the prices on the market don’t stabilise. Not just Ingutsheni but everyone will have a problem because you will still need to go to the shops to buy cooking oil and a lot of things.
For now, we have enough stocks. I remember we have cooking oil to last us six months, sugar for four months. Our meat situation is actually stable as we are able to procure meat. Our protein level is good, we have beans, soya mince and beef itself. We are ok but we need the donations. The Anglican Church just donated 250kg of beef,” he noted.
The CEO said what Ingutsheni needed was more detergents to sanitise the hospital and patients surroundings.
“This is because the type of patients we are dealing with. Some of them may not really be conscious of what is happening and if you have a dirty environment patients may touch then put hands into their mouth. Until they grow conscious about their environment we need it to be clean. We also need linen in the forms of uniforms, blankets and bedding. Then you need infrastructure that is very important. You need boilers to supply hot water, need a kitchen, need wards, roofs with no leaks. This is what you need in a hospital like Ingutsheni right now,” Manyawu summed.