MANILA, Philippines?Even as the administration scrambles to provide health care to millions of Filipinos, over P121 million worth of government hospital equipment, buildings and facilities were either unused, defective or left unfinished for various reasons last year, the Commission on Audit (COA) has discovered.
In its latest report on the Department of Health, the COA found that P121.857 million worth of facilities and equipment in eight hospitals in Metro Manila and regions 2, 3, 12 and 13 had not benefited patients in 2009.
The audit agency said the non-use of the assets led to ?foregone revenues and wastage of government funds? and deprived the hospitals of additional resources in the delivery of health care services.
This took place despite the COA?s earlier recommendations to fix or use them, it added.
The hospitals cited in the COA report were: Amang Rodriguez Memorial Medical Center, Tondo Medical Center, Research Institute of Tropical Medicines, Southern Isabela General Hospital, Dr. Paulino J. Garcia Memorial Research and Medical Center and its Talavera Extension, Cotabato Regional and Medical Center, and Adela Serra Ty Memorial Medical Center.
Among the problems the COA uncovered were the non-use of the laparoscopic machine at the Tondo Medical Center and the medical and laboratory equipment at the Southern Isabela hospital due to lack of trained personnel to handle them; the non-use of five infant warmers at the Adela Serra Ty hospital due to the lack of a suitable facility for the equipment; and the suspension of the construction of the Amang Rodriguez hospital?s outpatient building due to lack of funding for the fire sprinkler system.
The COA told the hospitals to look for funds to complete the construction works they had begun or to transfer their unused equipment to other district hospitals that could benefit from them. They should also fast-track the purchase of things necessary to make their equipment operational, COA added.
Government auditors also reminded hospitals to coordinate closely with the DOH regarding their specific needs and to make sure they have trained personnel to operate any purchased gadgets. They should have a preventive maintenance program for their equipment, the agency added.