As day two of the 2020 National Budget debates got underway, Government’s Member of Parliament (MP), Dr. Vishwa Mahadeo, emerged with some startling finds regarding the management of Guyana’s health sector under the previous administration’s purview.
Commenting on the A Partnership For National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) government’s “mismanagement” of the sector, Mahadeo told the National Assembly that the administration expended millions of dollars to purchase an anesthetic machine for the New Amsterdam Public Hospital, Region Six, for human use but instead – the machine was “parked” as it is only compatible with animals.
The seasoned Parliamentarian told the House that when the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) came in office in August, only one out of the five anesthetic machines at the health facility were operable.
“Mr. Speaker, here’s a shocker,” Dr. Mahadeo said: “an example of how the APNU+AFC government functioned: there was a new anesthetic machine that was bought for millions of dollars – sole-sourced- this new anesthetic machine has never been used, and cannot be used in the New Amsterdam Public Hospital so it is parked there. But do you know, Mr. Speaker, why it cannot be used? It cannot be used because it is an anesthetic machine that is to be used for veterinary services – to put animals to sleep for surgical intervention.”
Within days, he said, the new administration made progress. A bio-chemical engineer was asked to “check and see what can be fixed” and so far one of the four machines was fixed and two others are expected to be up and running within the next week.
One critical question to be asked, he said, was “who is responsible” adding that “as an animal activist, I say we shouldn’t treat animals badly. But, at the same time, Mr. Speaker, we should not treat human beings as animals.”
Continuing, Dr. Mahadeo said that the APNU+AFC boasted about a CT scanner they received, however, upon several checks, the machine is still not operational.
While he pointed out that the CT Scanner will be up and running in the coming week, if it had been operational since being procured, Guyanese would have been able to save thousands of dollars.
Not only this, he continued, the machine was stored in a room but “storage was not free.”
“Mr. Speaker, storage was at a cost of $14.5 million per month, $174 million dollars per year. Mr. Speaker, they were storing a $90 million piece of equipment in a bond,” he said.
Commenting further, Mahadeo pointed out that the APNU+AFC administration placed an “ex-bank clerk” as the Regional Heath Officer (RHO) to hold the reigns of Region six’s health sector.
Among their other blunders, he added, was appointing a Minister of Health who had no experience in health care delivery.
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