CFO faces the axe over drugs shortages
THE failure to budget for medicines, drugs and other medical consumables resulting in shortages at Limpopo hospitals and clinics has landed a senior official of the department of health and social development in hot water.
The department's chief financial officer, Friday Professor Mushwana, is in trouble after he was blamed for the deterioration of health services in the province.
Mushwana is facing suspension for allegedly failing to perform his duties to the required standard.
Sowetan has seen a letter of intention to suspend him, written by the department's head Daisy Mafubelu on June 21.
Mushwana was given until this Tuesday to provide reasons why he should not be suspended.
Mushwana acknowledged receipt of the letter on June 22.
Sowetan learnt yesterday that Mushwana had responded to the accusations and that the department was still drafting a letter to suspend him formally.
According to the June 21 letter, Mafubelu was concerned that the department had obtained a disclaimer opinion from the auditor-general for the financial year 2010/11, which was "a regression from the 2009/10 financial year".
She also blamed Mushwana for "not adequately" addressing the basis for the 2010/11 disclaimer opinion as raised by the A-G in the 2010/11 audit report.
"As a result, the preliminary 2011/12 audit results indicate that the department will be disclaimed for the second consecutive year on same or similar basis," read the letter in part.
The letter also accused Mushwana of failing to budget for medicines, drugs and other medical consumables, which resulted in shortages in hospitals and clinics. It said as a consequence, health professionals were unable to "adequately and professionally" perform their duties.
Mushwana has also failed to submit reports and/or information within the prescribed time-frames as requested by the provincial treasury, office of Premier Cassel Mathale and the A-G.
At the beginning of this year, the department experienced a serious shortage of medications and there was no budget to purchase them. Some of the ARV drugs had to be borrowed from neighbouring Mpumalanga and North West provinces.
The department is also among the five in Limpopo that are under administration owing to financial mismanagement.
As part of an intervention, the national department of health sent 30000 units of Tenefovir (ARV drugs) to reduce the shortage in the province. This was after HIV-Aids patients, including those suffering from sugar diabetes, had complained about the shortage of the medications.
Mushwana's phone was off while that of Mafubelu rang unanswered.
Phuti Seloba, the department's spokesman, said he was not aware of a suspension letter and that he would check before commenting. - email@example.com