Healthcare Costs Spiral out of Control

IF Harare residents and Zimbabweans at large had a magic wand or a choice at least, they would end all sicknesses but the fact that they occur naturally and involuntarily leaves them at the mercy of the twisted “politics of survival” manoeuvring of a desperate and failed government.

The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) finds it stomach-turning that public health has been effectively privatised through the introduction of the new hard currency fees amid the socio-economic malaise that has drastically increased poverty amongst residents.

The average Zimbabwean has been denied access to health as the Zanu PF government takes desperate measures to keep its Titanic of chronic failure afloat.

The government hospitals which together with council clinics were given the nod to charge in hard currency –– but still accept the valueless Zimbabwean dollar with the charges determined on a daily basis –– charge patients a hard-to-come-by US$40 for consultation only and a massive US$70 a night for in-patients.

A Caesarean operation requires a flat fee of a whopping US$150 while scans cost around US$80.The Harare City council has pegged consultation fees for adults at US$5 a visit and US$3 for children.

Antenatal care booking charges for expecting women are pegged at US$50 and family planning method seekers pay an average of US$2 per service.

Most low income earners who make the majority of the Zimbabwean population still earn far below US$1 per month, lower than the least charge for any service rendered at the government hospitals and council clinics.

The health charges set are therefore exasperatingly out of reach of the generality of residents and have turned public facilities into private ones and condemn residents to more suffering.

The health charges are tantamount to fundraising to prop up the failed government and broaden the looting base. The charges are prohibitive and should be reversed.

Meanwhile the hard currency craze has seen massive profiteering and lack of accountability in public and private sectors.

CHRA would like to urge the Ministry of Health, the government and all other public and private service providers to stop ripping off citizens and uphold principles of justice and due fairness in discharging their mandate and in their businesses respectively.

CHRA will continue to advocate for transparency, professionalism, and quality municipal and other service delivery.

Combined Harare Residents Association