Medical equipment worth P47.53M idle in CamNorte

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by Allan Yves Briones

Five dialysis machines, a CT scan and a digital mobile X-Ray were found to be idle or not functional due to poor planning by the provincial government of Camarines Norte.

According to the 2018 annual audit report of the Commission on Audit (COA), local officials’ failure to abide by the memorandum of agreement they entered into left medical equipment worth P47.53 million by the wayside.

“(Medical equipment) remains idle and on stand-by mode because of varied reasons to address before it can be utilized,” COA added.

The dialysis machines worth P7.64 million, according to CamNorte officials, were unused because there was no space suited for permanent installation, and the necessary permits, licenses, and electrical requirements have not been met.

In addition, there was a lack of personnel with the qualification and training requirements to operate the five units.

The Spiral CT Scan, which set back the provincial government P24.98 million, reportedly faced similar space, permit and personnel issues, as well as the absence of an uninterruptible power supply – a problem which also plagued the defective digital mobile X-Ray machine.

According to state auditors, the problems could’ve been avoided if Section A, Items 6 and 7 of the approved memorandum of agreement between the Department of Health and the provincial government.

“(Provincial government) shall ensure that there is/are personnel complement with technical skills and knowledge in operating the equipment,” the agreement stated, as cited in the report. “(It shall also) ensure that there is appropriate building, room or infrastructure to accommodate the equipment.”

COA ordered CamNorte officials to immediately replace the defective equipment, and prioritize the training of technical personnel who will operate the machinery.

According to the provincial government, as stated in the report, the CT Scan is now functioning and in-use, while a nephrologist is being requested to facilitate the operation of the dialysis center.