Monday 2 March 2020


 THE Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) has seized dialysis equipment donated to Mpilo Central Hospital over unpaid customs duty amounting to 3 000 pounds, a development that has affected an ongoing training programme for doctors and nurses who will use the equipment.

Zimra is demanding duty upfront before it can release the medical equipment comprising peritoneal dialysis catheters, renal biopsy, needles, sutures, suturing trays and sterile packs to be used in the treatment of patients with kidney complications.

The International Society of Nephrology (ISN) donated the equipment, which was supposed to be used to interpret kidney biopsies, as well as perform peritoneal dialysis for kidney patients. 

After the training of medical staff, the donated equipment will remain at Mpilo for use in treating patients. ISN educational ambassador Dr Nitin Kolhe together with two senior nurses, Sisters Carol Rhodes and Claire Mcguire from the United Kingdom, are at Mpilo Central Hospital to conduct the programme, which started yesterday and ends on Friday.

In an interview, Mpilo Central Hospital’s head of the renal unit Dr Shepperd Kajowa said the seizure of the equipment by Zimra impacted negatively on the ongoing training programme, which is aimed at equipping doctors and nurses who will use the equipment in the treatment of patients with requisite skills.

He said after the training programme, the health institution will be able to offer, for the first-time, peritoneal dialysis for kidney patients in the Matabeleland region as the equipment will remain in use at the hospital. “The other aspect is on biopsies which will enable us to start offering that service and it will help us improve our diagnostic ability when dealing with patients with kidney related ailments. Biopsy involves taking a very tiny piece of the kidney and examining it under a microscope so that we are able to get the exact diagnosis from the histology,” said Dr Kajowa.

“It is very essential in that it helps us find what exactly would be wrong with the patient, something that we are not offering at the moment.” 

Dr Kolhe said failure to release the equipment would be a major blow to the training as they need to use the machines for demonstration purposes for those who will be using it.

“Zimra has kept the machines and this has so far affected our training session. If the equipment is not released, we would have travelled over 400 miles to Bulawayo for nothing. They are saying we should deposit a duty of 3 000 pounds. I bought an Ultra Sound Machine because I was not sure if they had such equipment in Bulawayo and we will be taking the machine back but the rest of the things they are supposed to be used by the institution after the training programme,” he said.

Dr Kolhe said they had been advised that Mpilo Hospital had sent a letter to Zimra and were hopeful that the equipment would be released soon.

Mpilo Central Hospital chief executive officer Mr Leonard Mabandi said they had already applied to Zimra for the equipment to be released.

“What l can say is that we are expecting the equipment be cleared because we have already applied for free clearance. We had to learn on Sunday, the day they were flying, the value of the equipment they were carrying,” he said.

Zimra Commissioner-General Ms Faith Mazani said she was not aware of the development.

“I don’t have facts and therefore it would be difficult for me to comment. However, if Mpilo Central Hospital has an issue they can contact me and then I can assist them. Even if the equipment has been seized by Zimra, I need to first know the reason why It was confiscated,” she said.

Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care Dr John Chamunorwa Mangwiro said he was yet to be furnished on the matter.

“I am not privy to that issue as I am yet to be informed. Mpilo Central Hospital chief executive officer is supposed to write a detailed report and send it to us then we take it up from there,” he said. Chronicle


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