Zimbabweans decry high cost of health services as Covid-19 rages on

By Doreen Bhebhe

Zimbabweans have bemoaned the high cost of health services and have blamed the government for failing to rehabilitate the moribund public health institutions and awarding medical personnel decent salaries.

In contrast, the high heeled politicians are enjoying better health services from private owned state-of-art health facilities.

Most Zimbabweans, battling poverty, hunger and dire living conditions cannot afford exorbitant fees charged by private hospitals and clinics.

Private institutions charge US$20 for a Covid-19 test, a figure not only out of reach for many, but most who are vulnerable to Covid-19 infections.

Further, private hospitals such as the Catholic run Mater Dei Hospital has directed patients to pay a staggering USD$5000 for intensive care hospitalisation.

As a result, ordinary citizens have no choice but to go to public hospitals that are saddled with archaic infrastructure, lack of medication and demotivated medical personnel.

Worsening the situation is that some medical aid societies and pharmacies are demanding payment in United States dollars.

“There is no way I can even get tested since transport cost to and from town is ZWL $100, and as an ordinary citizen my weekly profit doesn’t permit me  to go and get tested let alone paying USD $20 for tests to be conducted,” says Bulawayo vendor who insisted on being named Mai Tambo, a mother of four.

Tatenda Ndlovu, a Cowdray Park resident, revealed a shocking and alarming story that his sister lost a still born baby at Mpilo hospital because of the lethargy of nurses.

“I have been to Mpilo hospital and my sister lost her baby because no one could help her deliver,” lamented a dejected Ndlovu.

“The place looks deserted. There are no doctors or midwives. The situation is bad, especially in these Covid 19 times.”

The dire situation has been directly linked to under-funding, neglect, and corruption in tender procedures in the procurement of drugs, thus crippling the fight against Covid-19.

In August, President Emmerson Mnangagwa fired Health and Child Care minister, Obadiah Moyo over corruption involving tenders for COVID-19 supplies.

In November 2019, Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube allocated a paltry $6, 5 billion of the ZWL$63.6billion of his 2020 national budget to the sector, against the 15 percent stipulated under the Abuja Declaration.

As if that is not enough, returnees from other countries are escaping quarantine centres, thus exposing their relatives at home to the Covid-19 virus.

As of last month, 1000 returnees were reported to have fled quarantine centres, citing poor living environment and lack of food.

But Zimbabweans have their own opinions regarding the matter with one Mr. Nkala from Nkulumane saying: “We are afraid of these people who are travelling from outside the country. How do they escape quarantine centers when police are on watch? There is just corruption. Nothing else”.

Latest statistics show that the country has 7526 confirmed cases and 18 new cases on 14 September. 224 have succumbed to the pestilence and 5678 have recovered.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button