The government has been blamed for allowing medical doctors working in its hospitals to operate private clinics, thereby creating conflict of interest which compromised services to the public.
Debating the budget estimates for the ministry of Health and Social Welfare Kisesa Member of Parliament Luhaga Mpina said the government allowed the medical doctors to establish private hospitals and clinics but has failed to supervise and control them.
“This is a good thing but some doctors have been misusing the opportunity by failing to treat well the patients in public hospitals and instead direct them to go to their private hospitals,” Mpina said.
He said some doctors have been using the screening devices in public hospitals for their patients and later offer them treatment at their hospitals.
Mpina also noted that some doctors have similar screening equipment in their hospitals, creating the possibility of sabotaging them so that the patients go to their hospitals.
“Most private hospitals depend on doctors from public hospitals, entering into contracts with them …this situation has contributed to the deterioration of services in public hospitals,” Mpina said.
The MP however said that the government has been financing the education of specialist doctors but it has left a loophole for them to resign without taking into account that the country has incurred costs to train them. “If the training of a specialist doctor takes more than twelve years at high cost there is a need to give them special contracts which binds them to serve in public hospitals,” Mpina said.
He said there were reports that at Muhimbili National Hospital four specialist doctors have resigned after the government gave the go ahead during the recent crisis and are now serving neighbouring countries such as Botswana, asking what measures were being taken to curb the situation.
For his part Karatu MP Israel Natse Karatu questioned the credibility of the Medical Store Department in distributing medicines, equipment and reagents.
He said the rate of drug expiry has been rising in recent years.
“This is unacceptable...last year drugs worth 4.2bn/- were destroyed after expiring, while there were no drugs in most public hospitals,” he said.
Natse said MSD has set up 80 percent of expiry time of the drugs purchased but it has continued to import drugs below the required standard.
“If MSD has failed to deliver it should be dissolved because people are complaining of shortage of drugs. Yet these are rotting in its warehouses,” he insisted.
Special Seats MP (Chadema), Anna MaryStella Mallac, said that health service providers were facing communication difficulties, especially when a doctor had an emergency patient who was supposed to be referred.
In some cases the doctor was required to walk up to three kilometres to communicate with the hospital where the patient is being referred,” Mallac said.
Mbeya Urban legislator Joseph Mbilinyi complained over the health charges at Mbeya referral hospital, saying that low income earners could not afford them.