Zambia Medical Association president Abidan Chansa has condemned the theft scandal at Kafue General Hospital where senior managers ordered junior staff to forge documents and and conceal the theft of medical supplies.
And Ministry of Health spokesperson Maximilian Bweupe appreciated the exposé published by News Diggers, saying the Ministry has already begun investigating the scandal.
In recordings sent to News Diggers! by a whistle-blower, KGH medical superintendent, a Dr Mapani, KGH laboratory in charge Mandona Chungu, her former deputy Judy Mwanza and senior laboratory technician Peter Zulu are heard instructing their juniors to fill in back-dated stock control cards and scratch them to make them look old in order to dupe the auditors.
But when contacted, Dr Mapani said she could not deny or accept giving such instructions because the audit was on-going whilst Chungu expressed ignorance saying all the submitted cards were genuine.
Reacting to the expose, Zambia Medical Association (ZMA) president Abidan Chansa condemned the scandal, saying those tasked with the responsibility of looking after government resources should do so with dignity.
He added that his association did not condone theft of health commodities
“Somebody forwarded me something to that effect from you guys. I read on social media that you are in possession of a recording between authorities at Kafue General [Hospital]. I don’t know how you got that and things like that, but as the Zambia Medical Association, we do not condone theft of health commodities. Be it drugs, test kits, laboratory reagents and even funds that somebody has been entrusted with. Anyone who engages themselves in theft practices, the Zambia Medical Association condemns that in the strongest terms. Because these commodities, when people have been given the responsibility to work and safeguard government commodities, it is for the interest of the patients. That one patient can be any of us,” Dr Chansa said.
“So those people that are tasked with ensuring that there is no theft in government institutions or indeed private institutions, should not engage themselves in theft. We condemn that in the strongest possible terms. It is the practice that we wish to discourage our members who are in decision making portfolios to desist from because it does not build public trust. It makes government lose funds, partners lose funds and its these funds that are meant for the betterment of patients.”
Dr Chansa said his association expected that if the staff at Kafue General Hospital were found wanting, the law would follow them.
“There are procedures in government and I believe Kafue General Hospital is a government hospital. The government does not sit idle on these issues; there are procedures that would be followed. Those that would be found wanting, the law is very clear on what should happen to them and the law should be followed to the latter,” Dr Chansa added said.
He hoped that none of the ZMA members were involved in the scandal and appealed to health professionals to desist from mischief.
“I would [like] to appeal to our members who have been tasked with the responsibility of looking after government resources to do this with dignity because as an association we swear to the oath. And in our oath the most important person is the patient. Then to desist from any act of mischief, that is the pledge that we have all sworn to. So theft, if it is indeed true that one of our members is involved, it is a regrettable thing and I hope it is not true. I hope that none of the members of the medical professional, the Zambia Medical Association is involved in this. That is my prayer,” said Dr Chansa.
And in a separate interview, Dr Bweupe expressed delight after reading the revelation and promised to investigate.
“You have carried a very big, nice headline there. But I don’t have any information right now until I get a full report. Of course, we shall be getting information about what transpired,” Dr Bweupe said.
Asked if the ministry would consider suspending the suspects to pave way for investigations, Dr Bweupe said government would first investigate before any action was taken.
He hastened to add that investigations had already begun.
“No, this is government. They’re processes and procedures. What we do have is what is published on the headline, and as per our government processes we shall also enquire and find out what exactly happened and then we [will] act on that. We cannot, of course, as expected, act based on what the media has published. We have to use our internal processes. We have already begun finding out. I don’t have any information right now, so until we conclude our investigation, there isn’t much I can be able to say at this point in time,” said Dr Bweupe.