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Hike in hospital user fees: MP seeks explanation

Member of Parliament (MP) for Mbizo Constituency, Settlement Chikwinya, has requested the Parliament to summon Health and Child Care Minister, Constantino Chiwenga, to explain the rationale behind the government’s hiking of hospital user fees to levels that he said were beyond the reach of many.

This week, the government issued a statement announcing the hike in hospital fees by 1 748 percent

The consultation fees for adults are now pegged at US$12 and children US$6, which is equivalent to ZWL$3 696 and ZWL$1 848, respectively in the local currency using the official exchange rate of US$1: ZWL$308.

Prior to the announcement user fees were pegged at ZWL$200 and ZWL$100 for adults and children, respectively.

“I rise to present a motion of national interest guided by Section 76 of the Constitution which provides for the right to healthcare,” said Chikwinya in the National Assembly Thursday.

“Honourable Speaker (Jacob Mudenda), as of yesterday, the Ministry of Health and Child Care increased healthcare services by1748% taking consultation fees from RTGS300 to USD12 or equivalent at the bank rate of that day. In my view, this upward increase provides for contravention of this right as provided for in Section 76 as the majority of our Zimbabweans will not be able to afford basic care.”

Chikwinya further said: “I would therefore request Parliament, through you Honourable. Speaker, for us to have the Minister of Health and Child Care to come and explain and justify the cost structure under which he has been guided for him to move from 300 RTGS which was about a dollar to about US$12. I believe public health institutions must cater for pensioners, people who are not working, and civil servants all of whom cannot be able to access US$12 per day per ward.”

In his response, Mudenda said: “The message will be passed through the Hon. Chief Whip (Pupurai Togarepi).”

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