OPERATIONS at various public health institutions could be grinding to a halt amidst indications that institutions are battling to service their financial obligations as well as deal with the swelling number of health seekers following the scraping of user at government hospitals early this year.
By Michael Gwarisa
Speaking during the ongoing Medical and Health Expo and conference, Harare Central Hospital Chief Executive Officer, Dr Nyasha Masuka said the move to scrap user fees was rushed and not commensurate with the prevailing state of affairs at public health institutions.
“We already lost US$1.5 million for this year, we have lost US$3.2 million from user fees which we use to support what is not supported by government. This policy was implemented without even the expansion of infrastructure or even increasing the number of midwives.
“So whose ideas are these, who allows this to happen? So now we have women who are sleeping in corridors and others risk even stepping on their young ones. All of a sudden from nowhere without even consultation or a policy process we hear of free renal dialysis at the central hospitals you hear such policies being announced without looking at essential heath requirements,” said Dr Masuka.
Government late last year scrapped medical fees for infants, senior citizens and pregnant women\nursing mothers at State-run hospitals have been scrapped as part of measures to increase healthcare access.
At the beginning of this year, the then minister of health and child care, Dr David Parirenyatwa also announced the scrapping of blood user fees for vulnerable groups, pregnant mothers, senior citizens and infants.
“We have struggling since the beginning of the year to get the money allocated to us by the Zimbabwean government and we have managed to get $500 000 out the $1.5 million.”
Meanwhile, Policy Planning and Evaluation official in the ministry of health and child care (MoHCC), Mr Gwati Gwati also took a swipe at the free user fees drive which he said was not properly planned and its implementation could be disastrous to the health sector.
“You hear of the free health care policy saying it tartegst 90 percent of the country’s population. I doubt it is true that 90 percent of Zimbabweans cannot afford to pay for their health care.”