Evaluation of Medical Equipment Management in Governmental Health Facilities in Gaza Governorates
In resource poor countries substantial sums of money from governments and international donors are used to purchase equipment for health facilities. This study aims to evaluate the current status of medical equipment management cycle in the governmental health facilities in Gaza governorates from the line manager’s perspectives at each department. The key issues in the purchase, distribution, installation, management and maintenance of equipment were discussed. This is a quantitative cross sectional study and the instruments were a self administered questionnaire filled by the medical department heads, senior nurses and technicians. Also observational checklist was used in the X-ray departments in all hospitals. The total number of the study population was 208, with a response rate of 92.2%. The problems within the medical equipment management cycle that were identified are generic. Some of the root causes of such problems are lack of decentralized planning and in adequate management capacity. In addition, within the health budget the proportion allotted for repair and maintenance is abysmally low which compounds the management problem. The study showed that 92.6% of the health managers, doctors, and nurses didn’t receive any training course in the last three years. Politically and administratively hardly any attention is paid to training. More than 54.4% of the participants reported that there are no adequate spaces and suitable stores for keeping and using medical equipment, and 61.1% reported that there is no preventive maintenance system in their department; 83.7% of them reported that most of equipment that were malfunctioning were due to lack of spare parts; and 54.8% were unsatisfied about the status of medical equipment management in their departments. As a result, there is wastage of precious resources in term of non-functioning and not utilization of equipment in facilities. Non- functioning equipment has very serious consequences on health services. Various donor agencies and governments need to promote better equipment management rather than invest in the purchase of new equipment when most facilities have usable and reliable equipment. Capacity development is required to manage equipment in the health system.