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COA: Agusan del Norte risks contamination of hospital supplies due to poor storage

HOSPITAL supplies, stagnant water, used tires, garbage, and buckets of paint might sound like a bad mix but these are exactly what government auditors found in two buildings being used as temporary storage in Agusan del Norte.

And these were not just any old buildings, according to the audit team that conducted an onsite inspection as part of the 2023 yearend audit.

In fact, the provincial government stowed hospital supplies at the Provincial Health Office which is plagued by stagnant water due to inadequate drainage.

Keeping the medical supplies from swimming on the flooded floor of the PHO were wooden and plastic pallets.

“Hospital and office supplies were placed in the same area due to limited space. Unused boxes, trash, unserviceable equipment, and stagnant water caused by poor drainage were seen in the surroundings. Also, the facility still has no water supply,” auditors reported.

A separate inspection of an area of the Department of Health building being used as temporary storage of fluids by the PHO revealed similar problems.

While there was no flooded floor, government auditors found the location unsanitary and the medical supplies shared the same space with discarded items and handyman’s chemicals.

“Items like tires, used hospital beds, garbage, and maintenance supplies such as paints, boots and buckets were found on the same premises,” the audit team noted.

Such problems were nothing new for the province as state auditors pointed out that similar observations were highlighted in prior years’ audit reports.

The provincial government had responded positively by constructing a designated warehouse for such supplies but while the structure was supposedly completed as of July 23, 2023, it remained empty as of the audit date, waiting for the issuance of an occupancy permit.

“The noted deficiencies are against the good storage and distribution practices for medical products adopted by the DOH, exposing the products to possible contamination, mix-ups, and cross-contamination, affecting desired quality … and eventually wasting government resources,” the auditors said.

Responding to the audit observations, the provincial government said it had cleared the