The Ministry of Health has clarified on how it used some of the funds allocated to them towards the fight against COVID-19.
This comes after a report by the budget monitoring and accountability unit of the finance ministry released a report on all expenditure by the health ministry in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The report however, has some inaccuracies which MoH has since come out to clarify.
EMERGENCY AMBULANCES AND BOATS
MoH realized that there was a need to boost her ambulance fleet in order to respond in time to Covid-19 victims. A decision was reached to procure 38 of them. According to the report“38 ambulances were still under procurement. M/s AutoZone Armor Processing Cars L.L.C through M/s City Ambulance Limited was contracted to supply the ambulances at UGX11bn. All funds (100%) were uploaded onto a letter of credit at Bank of Uganda by 30thJune 2020. Actual payments to the service provider was done upon delivery. The initial delivery date was 30th July 2020, this was not achieved by September 2020 and extended to November 2020.”
The Ministry of Health said whereas it is true that the said ambulances were procured, they have all since been received contrary to what was stated in the report.
“The Ministry of Health would like to clarify that 33type B ambulances have since been received at the Ministry and another 5 ambulances (3 water boat intensive care ambulances and two type C road intensive care ambulances) are going through the Customs clearing at the Kenya Port of Mombasa. It is also important to note that the presumed delay in delivery of the ambulances was due to the customized manufacturing process of the ambulances as per the contract specifications and due to the global movement restrictions which also affected shipping of equipment and other commodities. Anyone who has procured such commodities would not say this was a delay at all,” reads a statement sent to Red pepper.
MOBILE HEALTH FACILITIES ESTABLISHED AT BORDER POINTS OF ENTRY
On the issue of mobile health facilities established at border points of entry, the report noted that confirmation of land availability was not done prior to contract signature leading to resource overruns. “Equipment and human resources to run these facilities was also not planned,” the report added. However, according to MoH, this is not true.
“Following the decision by Cabinet and the COVID-19 National Task Force to ease port health testing because of the long queues of truck drivers, the Ministry of Health contacted Uganda Revenue Authority (URA)and the respective local governments at the various points of entry who agreed to avail land. The truth is that the local governments delayed to identify land for the development. Although, they had earlier indicated willingness to provide land. Additionally, the contractor had fabricated 50% of the buildings by the end of June2020but land allocation delayed completion,” MoH clarifies. MoH has since protested to the ministry of finance over this ‘biased’ report.
“We would like to also note that BMAU hurriedly released an incomplete and unsigned report in October 2020 to social media without receiving feedback from the Ministry of Health as it was expected. While the team states in its report that there was physical monitoring of the various interventions, most of their work was done over the phone and also promised to come at a later time to follow up. Even in areas where they did physical verification, information was obtained from junior officers who had little information to provide. The documentary review of the procurement files that were done lacked clarity from contract managers hence the distortions in the report. Although monitors are not auditors it would have been courteous for them to share their report for complete feedback as expected.
The Ministry of Health only noticed this report circulating on social media which the sector objected to in writing to MOFPED. Instead of sending the report formally, the Commissioner in charge of Planning at the Ministry of Health received an unsigned copy via e-mail.
However, to-date the Ministry of Health has never received an authentic and signed copy of this report.”