THE Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care has recommended that the Bulawayo City council-run Thorngrove Infectious Disease hospital be converted into a district hospital to ease congestion at central hospitals in the city.
The committee said the facility was grossly underutilised.
Presenting the first report of the Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care on the state of affairs of the health delivery system in the country in Parliament, chairperson Ruth Labode said district hospitals should be constructed in Bulawayo and Harare to ease congestion in the tertiary institutions.
“The committee proposes that Thorngrove Infectious Disease Hospital be converted into a district hospital to ease congestion at Bulawayo central hospitals,” she said.
Congestion at major hospitals has often exerted pressure on resources and led to deterioration in service delivery.
Last year, Health and Child Care minister David Parirenyatwa said the government was planning to build four district hospitals in Harare and Bulawayo to ease pressure on the cities’ four referral hospitals.
According to the report, the committee said the referral system in the health sector had broken down.
“The referral system between district hospitals and tertiary institutions, city council clinics and tertiary institutions has broken down,” Labode said.
“Lack of ambulances to ferry patients from rural areas to the tertiary institutions means that the patients prefer to go straight to tertiary institutions while they are strong enough to use public transport.”
The committee recommended that pharmacy directorate within the institutions “must as a matter of urgency start a workable redistribution system of the distributed drugs to reduce the quantities of drugs expiring”.
“It is essential to note that 98% of the drugs being distributed to various hospitals come from donors. They do not seem to be purchased with morbidity patterns in mind and have very short shelf life of plus or minus three months in most cases,” Labode said.
The committee said Natpharm should sell excess stocks of drugs to the private sector and donate to schools, clinics, prisons and mission hospitals to minimise expiries.