According to a statement by Mr. Mohamed Sidik Dhamme, a senior member of Waddani opposition party, the Erigavo Regional Hospital’s Complete Blood Work or CBC analysis equipment was stolen and sold in Garowe, the regional capital of the neighboring Puntland province of Somalia. Mr. Dhamme has attributed the theft of this machine to widespread corruption and negligence and stated that the Ministry of Health Development has not publicly disclosed the theft of this critical equipment from the hospital.
Mr. Dhamme stated that patients from Erigavo and four other districts in Sanag region are forced to use costly private facilities since the theft of the publicly-owned equipment from the regional hospital. He adds that the hospital’s service delivery has declined, and it is part of the overall pattern of decline in public hospitals but Erigavo is particularly affected by widespread corruption that includes the theft of oxygen cylinders intended for COVID-19 patients.
In response to Mr. Dhamme’s press conference, the regional health officials including the Regional Health Coordinator Dr. Hassan Ahmed Salah and the Director of the Erigavo Regional Hospital Mr. Farah Abdillahi Yusuf spoke to the media have downplayed the cost of the equipment and the significance of the stolen complete blood work analysis equipment and added that it was quickly replaced by the Ministry of Health Development.
The officials who seemed annoyed by the disclosure of the theft of the equipment took particular issue with Mr. Dhamme’s assertion that it was sold in Garowe and called on authorities to treat him as a witness as he may have additional information related to the case. Officials did not state if the theft of the equipment would result in disciplinary action for other officials beyond those currently in custody.
The government officials who spoke to the press stated that multiple individuals are in custody and the case is under investigation by the Police Criminal Investigation Department and that they did not want to give details while the incident was under investigation.
Government records from the Ministry of Health Development seen by Somaliland Chronicle show two transactions totaling 75 million Somaliland Shilling or 8,823 US dollars were approved late last month for unspecified medical lab equipment for Erigavo Regional Hospital. It is unclear if these transactions are directly related to the stolen Complete Blood Work or CBC analysis equipment.
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Ministry of Health Development, its regional officials, and the hospital have not disclosed the theft of this critical equipment before Mr. Dhamme’s press conference. Efforts to reach the Ministry of Health Development for details on this incident and if similar theft has occurred in the past were unsuccessful.