The Commission on Audit (COA) found that P1.225 billion worth of hospital equipment bought by the Department of Health (DOH) were either unused, yet to be delivered, or not maintained as of December 31, 2020.
In a report, state auditors said the handling of the equipment amounting to P1,225,260,566.29 runs counter to the aim of the Health Facilities Enhancement Program (HFEP).
HFEP seeks to upgrade health facilities in localities across the Philippines, including barangay health units and rural health units. It seeks to decongest major hospitals and allow easy access to medical services for Filipinos.
“In effect, the main goal of the HFEP to improve the delivery of basic, essential, as well as specialized healthcare services through the revitalization…and upgrading of health facilities was not attained,” COA said.
‘Poor strategic planning’
The COA report did not indicate the type of equipment purchased. It, however, pointed out that P873.47 million worth of equipment did not get regular maintenance at the Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center (EVRMC) and the Schistosomiasis Control and Research Hospital.
Meanwhile, P296.416 million worth of unutilized equipment were found. These were at EVRMC (P188.865 million), Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital (P85 million), Adela Serra Ty Memorial Medical Center (P9.92 million), Western Visayas Center for Health Development (P9.033 million) and the Las Piñas General Hospital and Satellite Trauma Center (P3.6 million).
“These occurrences manifested poor strategic planning and inadequate monitoring by the operating units and runs contrary to the policy of the State that all resources shall be used appropriately,” COA said, adding that the equipment’s life span could be affected by the lack of use and proper maintenance.
The DOH, meanwhile, agreed to deliver equipment based on needs of recipient hospitals. It also instructed its operating units to ensure that the equipment undergo timely maintenance.
The P1.225 billion worth of unused or uncalibrated equipment are part of COA’s audit findings for 2020.
State auditors also discovered “various deficiencies” amounting to P67.3 billion in the agency’s funds that led to “missed opportunities” in the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. – Rappler.com