June 2011 | Angeline Albert
The South African Department of Health is to investigate the way the country’s
provinces procure hi-tech equipment to tackle poor buying in hospitals and
review is conducted by the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Health Technology
(MAC-HT), and includes an audit of the standard of health technology currently
available, such as MRI scanners.
health minister Gwen Ramokgopa said last week there was a lot of duplication of
equipment in provinces. She added one province would often pay more than
another for the same technology.
spokesman for the Department of Health said a shortage of staff with the
technical skills to operate and maintain hi-tech devices meant provinces would
sometimes buy new equipment because there was no one able to fix existing
technology. “Provinces tend to buy everything and anything as long as somebody
tells them to,” he said.
MAC-HT is tasked with developing standards and guidelines for the health
technology purchased, to help the minister and the department deliver on a
promise to improve its effectiveness by 2014.
key priority for the Committee is to consult on and finalise the ‘Essential
Equipment List’, which will assist the Department of Health in
understanding what items are needed to plan, budget, acquire, maintain and
dispose of technology in the health service.
of the Committee are drawn from the MedicalResearch Council, the Collegeof Medicine, provincial and national health
departments, the private sector, healthcare funders and international bodies such
as the World Health Organization.